The transition to spring is the best mixed blessing. Where I live, it’s a time of the year when white snow clears first to mud, then tree blossoms and bulbs poking through the ground. We see the grime from a winter’s worth of moving snow around and salt on the roads give way to a greening of grass. And we all emerge from hibernation, prompted some by the promise of the new season and cajoled by Daylight Savings Time.
I’m excited about spring because it’s a great time to get outdoors and point at things with my kids, look for signs, and do it in mud boots. A time where you’re not sure from one day to the next if you’re going to find slush or daffodils poking their heads out of the soil. Or both! I’m starting to plan spring outings and was reminded of a great article one of our Montessorium contributors, Carey Leichter, shared last fall. The timing couldn’t be better to revisit her thoughts and “give the gift of nature” to your child this spring!
So as spring, well, awakens, here are some ways we share the gift of nature with our young children:
- Migration. The wide variety of birds working their way from south to north is a joy to see. The sounds are amazing and the V patterns soaring through the sky are wonderful sites to behold. No matter where you are, you can talk about migration – how birds and butterflies make their way back to the north after a winter down south. If you have relatives who go to warmer climates during the winter, share their story as a way to talk about how many creatures make long trips to stay warm during the winter and return home during the spring.
- Dormancy. Dormant life comes alive in the spring. While it isn’t all that practical to visit a bear to see them creaking awake after months resting, dormancy and awakening are just as easily shared with buds appearing on trees and perennials soaring through the soil. Spring is a time for trees to bud and then leaf and for daffodils and tulips to sprout and defy gravity. Do a simple nature walk around your yard or a local park and talk about this spring awakening and share the miracle of the circle of life.
- New animals. Spring around the world is a time when young animals are born on farms. Lambs frequently are born in the US in January or February; calves follow in February and March; and chicks are hatched in March and April. If you have an opportunity, visit a farm and see this wonderful miracle with your own eyes. At our house, we have chicks every spring that our children raise from two days old to mature, laying hens. While you might not have that opportunity, farms and zoos can afford you and your children a chance to experience this explosion of new life in the spring.
So, pull on some great mud boots and get gussied for spring adventures. Ask your child to spot the differences and let them lead you on a spring journey where migration, rebirth, and new birth are right in front of them and you. Guide them to see these examples of the spring awakening around them and, as a parent, appreciate the remarkable opportunity you have to be a parent to this inquiring, fresh young mind!
About the Author
Bill Anderson is a father of 4 who shares his experiences about parenting and life with Guidepost Parent.
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