Easter and Spring Favourites

It is that time of the year; spring! The snow is a mushy mess, everything is dirty but the promise of a summer of beautiful prairie sun filled days, is just around the corner.

We love spring and every year there are some activities that are inevitable.

We clean the outdoor toys:

Sneaky poductive water play

We make birds nests:

We plan the garden (including the fairy garden):

We play with Easter knick-knacks!

We grow seedlings:

peat-pots

Maybe try an April fools trick?

We do a cute craft such as these wee fluffy chicks:

wee-fluffy-chicks

How are you celebrating this spring and Easter season?

 

Sneaky Productive Water Play

Our outdoor active play toys, ride-ons, rocker crocodile, and hop balls  are always a little dusty after being storage all winter. With six months of winter here, under the deck provides a safe location for toys but a dirty one too.

Spring means cleaning time and the flowers got to work. I suggested they have a go at cleaning their toys and they were both excited to try.

Sneaky poductive water play

Armed with a bucket of warm soapy water and two microfiber cloths the girls worked for half an hour, taking each toy in turn. Warm water in much more inviting when the temperatures are still chilly. The bucket tipped over once but we just filled it up again. I would recommend an basin or bin for water.

Water play

We may find our toys need another little wash around August. This time it will be cold water and the hose may me used to rinse off the suds.

Nature Finds As Art

Now what to do with nature walk collections?

Black construction paper canvas:

This work of art comes with a story (as most art does):

This is a candy tree. The bad guy is swooping down. Golden leaves are falling that can turn into gumballs. The wolf pack is howling because he does not get to eat his food. So he has to eat the golden leaves. The golden leaves are falling.

Daisy loved sharing her story.

White Paper Canvas

Flag Stone Canvas and Twig Frame.

I wish I had asked her to give each a title!

Other ideas of what to do with nature collections:

  • Sketch findings in a nature journal
  • Make jewellery strung on yarn
  • Decorate picture frames, jewellery/treasure boxes, mirrors or sunglasses
  • Construct nature mobiles to illustrate any teaching point
  • Create wild animal sculptures with stems, plastic bags ties, tape and glue

For more details on these ideas and a whole heap more have a look at Nature Sparks. A wonderful book full of activities, tips, strategies and resources.

Learning Opportunities:

  • describe decisions about element position
  • experiment constructively with image creation
  • use, explore and understand the terms space, colour and texture
  • develop oral storytelling techniques
  • have fun with recycling

Nature Walk

As I have mentioned before we tend to have various collections; rocks, twigs, sand, shells… The list goes on.

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The girls and I set out today with bags for our finds.

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We looked at words we found along the way.

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And numbers.

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Even cute phrases in wishing wells. The girls were disappointed there as no water in the well.

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Rose loved having her own bag.

Both bags were well filled with rocks, twigs, leaves, pines cones and seeds. The rule was that they could only lift what had fallen naturally. That rule thankfully saved many flowers!

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Bugs were discussed and protected from Rose.

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A chipmunk got a nasty surprise as two flowers shouted chipmunk and quickly started following it!

The Silly Game

This is a game that I was intrigued with from the moment I saw it. I love any excuse to be silly and this game combines silliness with exercise.

The two large die are quickly inflated and are a great size for a group of children to see clearly. I used this game as part of a series of games at a recent school picnic. It was a hit. The children loved the anticipation of the die falling and were quick to complete the activities.

The game is simple and comes with 3 play area marker cones, 1 movement dice and 1 action dice.

I am afraid I have no photos at all of this game in action… too busy playing to stop and take one! Here is a sample happy bunch enjoying The Silly Game!

I was working with a mixed age of children and suggest:

  • Count the numbers together as all the children do the activity (the non counters can follow along)
  • Pair up before the game starts (you need a partner for wheelbarrow and each pair should be a comparable size)

We played in a group of 12 or so children. The adults threw the die and the children performed the actions. This was a non competitive event and the children enjoyed it immensely. The instructions are detailed but really it is open to all sorts of possibilities.

My daughter has played with The Silly Game a number of times in the last week. It is the go to game when she is not sure what to do next.

Outside Snow Play

Yesterday was a gorgeous day in February. It was -5, snowing and much of the back yard was sheltered from wind (for the non-Canucks that is warm!). We donned snowsuits and headed out. Rose sat in the sleigh and enjoyed being pulled around the garden.

Daisy did her share of pulling and entertaining her sister.

However after a little time Daisy wanted to play so I took over.

Here she is posing on her snow dragon.. yes Buddy the dog did decorate it!

After 4 laps of the yard I was getting tired.. Rose was not. Hence the pout.

My lack of energy thanks to stomach flu and Rose’s subsequent grumpiness got me thinking about outdoor snow activities. My brain was not coming up with a list of go to outside snow activities. After some research here are my favourites:

  • Make creations from snow and found objects.
  • Make a path for the kids to follow including obstacles to follow.
  • Play tag can also be done by following footprints if you have fresh snow.
  • Take small creatures outside for a snowy game of hide-and-seek (Mama Pea Pod)
  •  Provide a variety of materials and let the kids develop their own way of playing (Cheryl’s Child Care Blog). 
  • Play Tic-Tac-Snow with found objects (Parents).
  • Make coloured ice blocks for outside play. (Sweet and Lovely Crafts)
  • Open ended Bilibo play (see a cool video of them in action here).
  • Build a snow hole (I’m a Teacher get me outside here)

A small list to start with but we will have a go with some of these as soon as it warms up a little, it is -12 now, however  as Sir Rannulph Fiennes said, “There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.”