Spring is an excellent time to get the children in our lives interested in and excited about science and nature.
Last year we interviewed ornithologist Sanford R. Wilbur for some tips about how to start children out in the engrossing activity of birdwatching. You don’t need to spend a lot of money or have any previous “birding” experience in order to help kids with ornithological studies. Mr. Wilbur makes it fun and easy with his suggestions. http://www.amonco.org/spring1/montessori_spring1.pdf
Dale Gausman from the North American Montessori Center gives more useful suggestions in his article, “Introducing a Bird Feeder”. http://www.amonco.org/spring4/montessori_spring4.pdf
Spring weather is often perfect for burning off some energy and getting some fresh air while kite flying. It is a fun hands-on activity with great science and exercise opportunities. Check out our information and links in “Up, Up, and Away – The Art and Fun of Kite Flying”, as well as our seashell classification activities (another fun spring science project) here: http://www.amonco.org/spring4/montessori_spring4.pdf
Another classic outdoor activity for kids (and adults) is blowing soap bubbles. It’s an inexpensive, simple activity that teaches some interesting lessons about gravity, light waves, hydrogen bonding and other chemistry and physics concepts. It’s also an activity that is beautiful and entertaining. Add a younger sibling or family dog to the scene, trying to catch the bubbles, and you really have some fun! For more ideas and some recipes for making your own bubble solution, visit these websites: http://www.exploratorium.edu/ronh/bubbles/bubbles.html and http://www.bubbleblowers.com/homemade.html
Indoors or out, photography can provide the basis of many engaging and educational hands-on activities, when you choose age-appropriate equipment. Rae from Creative Process suggests some interesting photography projects in her “Picture-A-Day and Time Lapse Photography Idea”. http://www.amonco.org/spring2/montessori_spring2.pdf
For a great round-up of nature-oriented educational activities, be sure to read the listing from Diana Nuack of Nature’s Workshop Plus, available here: http://www.amonco.org/spring8/montessori_spring8.pdf
Need more spring activity ideas? http://www.activities-for-kids.net/spring-activities-for-kids.html
When the outdoor fun is finished, there are lots of ways to expand on what you learned.
John Grunder from Exploration Education has shared two great science experiments. “I CAN’T TAKE THE PRESSURE!” teaches Bernoulli’s principle in a fun and easy way with common household items. His “Needle-Proof Balloon” experiment teaches about molecular bonds. http://www.amonco.org/spring3/montessori_spring_3.pdf
It is useful and easy to reinforce science and nature themes through both fiction and non-fiction reading. Frances Hodgson Burnett’s “The Secret Garden” is an especially appropriate subject for spring reading, because the garden and the children both transform and “bloom” as the book proceeds. For more outdoor-oriented fiction, many of the titles suggested by Sara L. Ambarian for summer reading would also be good inspiration for spring nature science projects and exploration. http://www.amonco.org/Classic.pdf Find some fun spring poetry here: http://www.dltk-holidays.com/spring/poem/index.htm
Back in the house or classroom, why not try the map of the world project from Draw Your World’s Marie and Kim to help students process and understand scale and geography. http://www.amonco.org/spring5/montessori_spring.5.pdf
Have fun this weekend, checking out these wonderful resources.