In a normal year, we would be getting ready to say “see you next year” to Spring and “hello” to Summer, but 2020 is not a normal year. After all, it was snowing less than a month ago, and it feels like Spring only just arrived! We’re not quite ready to bid our favourite season adieu until next year, and so we wanted to spend some time remembering some of our favourite springtime activities from years past.
Spring is a valuable season of the year for Early Childhood Educators: after being cooped up inside and bundled up against the cold, children are suddenly free to go outside and explore their environments with their entire bodies. The earth is also exploring newfound freedom, with new creatures appearing and new plants sprouting from the ground. Spring gives ECEs incredible opportunities to teach children about nature – lessons that are valuable to learn for the rest of their lives.
Some of our ECEs at our Greendale Centre wanted to spur the Spring learning just a little bit. They had noticed that their children had been noticing more and more birds flying around: when outside, the children would point at and chase their winged friends; while birds made more and more appearances in drawings and play scenarios inside of the classroom.
Our ECEs decided that this was a great opportunity to teach the toddlers about birds and how to care for them. They filled a tub with birdseed and gathered all the children around. “What is this? Does anybody know?” they asked. They then taught the children that this is one kind of food that birds like to eat.
The children wanted to go feed the birds, but they didn’t want the squirrels or other animals to steal the birds’ food. “Let’s make birdfeeders, then!” said the ECEs. Everyone helped to gather pinecones from the ground, and then took turns covering them in honey. The children were very excited to get a little sticky and messy.
The pinecones were then rolled around the tub of birdseed tied to pieces of string. The ECEs hung the birdfeeders off of branches under the careful supervision of the children. For the next week, the children were excited to watch all of the different birds come and eat off of their birdfeeders.
Think about making birdfeeders at home with your children! In addition to attracting beautiful wildlife to your yard or garden, making pinecone feeders helps younger children learn about stickiness – something older children understand but younger children will be excited to discover. Helping to tie the string onto the pinecone also allows children to practice their fine-motor skills, an invaluable development for younger children.