Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Hop, Jump and Skip into Spring

Hop, Jump and Skip into Spring

Spring is on it’s way and with it birds, flowers, longer days and (we hope!) sunshine! What better way for children to pass the time and learn about their natural surroundings than with some well considered garden projects that are fun, educational and interesting.
Now is an excellent time to get planting. Children can start off by planting seeds of their favourite fruit, vegetables and flowers in empty egg cartons on the windowsill. A garden planner will help with organising what and when to sew. When the weather improves have the kids help with digging holes to plant the growing seedlings. With their own little gardener’s tools, kids will be more enthusiastic about gardening. Don’t forget to mark rows of vegetables with the seed packet on a stick so you remember what is growing there. The flowers can make a pretty border around the vegetables and will also attract butterflies.
Kids will love to help weed and water a garden they have helped create; so a child sized gardener’s bucket and watering can will top off the equipment list for the kids. Even a mini wheelbarrow can be great fun too.
And keep it educational! (They’ll never notice!) - Let the children read the seed packets themselves! Any chance for trying to read will help with their education at school. Talk about the seeds, germination, how things grow; what is needed for a plants growth; photosynthesis! It’s all educational and great fun too!
Once the vegetables are grown and the butterflies have arrived, children can have fun catching butterflies and keeping them for short periods in a butterfly garden.

Another great project in readiness for spring is making a birdhouse. Smart Start Toys have wooden birdhouses and bird feeders that can be built and painted by children and placed in the garden for the birds. These creative kits are great for rainy days to be made in readiness for sunnier, warmer weather. They are educational and fun and create a permanent attraction in the garden and can be used to attract and study birds.

As everything starts to come to life again after the long cold winter months, the availability of natural learning is literally on our doorsteps and we should take advantage of these natural learning resources as much as possible, so that children have a better understanding of their surroundings. Children love learning when it is fun that knowledge can be effectively transferred for use at school.

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