Click the images for the complete supply lists and how-tos.
We learn by doing, right? And our kids love to get dirty...I mean, ACTIVE, right? So let's have some fun teaching them about not only spring, but the world around them. I've rounded up a few projects that will help keep your little munchkins active while they're learning a thing or two along the way.
Click the images for the complete supply lists and how-tos.
Make your own rain gauge. Make it even more fun by using this printable to track and chart the results!
Do some fern prints! You can easily use any sort of leaf if you don't have ferns around. In fact, that could be a fun way to explore your area and help them learn about the different shapes of leaves and how each represents a different type of tree. Nature walk, anyone?
I think I know what we'll be doing this weekend. This is so cool! Ella and Ethan would really dig this--ha! Their little hands will love helping to make it. Later, we'll all be able to watch as the worms move and create tunnels, helping the kids understand what an important role worms actually do play in contributing to healthy plant life.
An easy recipe for great learning...and you get to recycle your coffee grounds. Paint the fossils when you're done, or add a magnet to help finish them off.
When you can't make it outside due to rainy weather, have a discussion about rain (while your newly made rain gauge is filling up) as you make a rain stick. Super fun and super easy. If you have a roll of wrapping paper, you might consider using the core instead of using a paper towel roll for something a little sturdier. Decorate the outside as simply or as creatively as you want--feathers, beads, stick on jewels, paint, markers, stickers, etc.
Story Stones! Love this idea. It's another excuse to go on a nature walk with your little ones while on the hunt for smooth stones. Use pics from magazines, stickers, or even use a printable bingo card like this one for some great (and small) pictures to use on your stones.
Play with shadows and time by creating a sun dial. For something a little more permanent, use a terra cotta plant tray instead of the paper plate and a dowel or skewer instead of the straw. Paint it up for a pretty and functional garden accessory. Help your kiddos countdown to lunchtime (or other activity) by asking them to tell you when the shadow reaches a specific number.
"Have you ever seen a picture of yourself, and it ruined your day?"--Jim Gaffigan
Yes! Yes is the answer. ALL. THE. TIME. This time around, I'm locked in on one specific feature: my hair.
I was busy with the nighttime routine last night, and I had finally sent my little angels off to the land of slumber. Usually at this point, I'm coming down the stairs holding my arms up in a show of victory. This time, however, as I started down the steps, I realized I still had another task to complete. I had completely forgotten all about Ella's Earth Day project, and it was due on, well, Earth Day...as in today.
I managed to get it done quickly (see quickie earth day craft how-to below for more info), and once completed, I went to snap a quick photo. Only, my camera phone was turned around (you know, selfie mode), and I caught a glimpse of myself. It's not like I haven't before seen (and been unhappy about) a picture of myself or anything, but for some reason, something snapped in me. Seeing my almost-pic kinda ruined my day...err...night...whatever.
It made me realize that I've be putting off doing something for myself for quite a while. But that's pretty common for parents, right? We all do that. As we should. I mean, I don't go to the doctor (I keep a running list of stuff to address when I finally go, and when the list gets to be long enough, I make an appt.), but if anyone else in my house has anything going on, I insist they go get checked out.
We're great at coming to the aide of everyone around us whenever they need us, but we're terrible at attending to ourselves. I put myself on the back burner so often, I no longer even think of it as the back burner. It's my spot. And it totally should be. Most of the time.
Don't mistake me. This is no pity party. I'm just saying, we tend to do that as caregivers. We do what we do, our kids come first, all that stuff. I'll get to me later, I need to do this now becomes part of our regular dialogue with ourselves. Even to the point where I don't even go pee when I need to go. I hold it so I can keep doing whatever it is I'm doing in that moment. I hold it...for a long while...for hours...forever. Until I'm to the about-to-make-a-puddle point, and I race to make it in time. When I finally go, I ask myself why the hell I waited so long because I could've taken 2 minutes to go and get back to my super important can't be interrupted task. I know, ridiculous, right? And TMI, too, but it makes my point.
So sitting there looking at my insta earth day craft, and realizing how I just banged that sucker out, I made a super important decision. About my hair. Super. Important. Muy importante.
And bang! I banged it out. Literally. I cut bangs.
There, much better. Itch scratched. Not perfect, but much improved. The fact that I'm sharing ANY pic of myself with you should tell you that I'm satisfied with it. At least, right now in this moment. I reserve the right to self loathe later.
Now, for a little quickie Earth Day do it yourself:
As I mentioned above, this was a last minute, last night, oh crap, what-am-I-going-to-do-for-her-project project. It had to be a simple upcycled something. I scanned my supplies, and I came up with...
ribbon (or twine, or something string-like)
cardboard paper towel roll (I used the core of one of my rolls of wrapping paper and cut it)
I first cut the cardboard tube to the size I wanted. I used the wood skewer (the pointy end) to poke a hole about an inch and a half from the end of the tube. I then lined up a spot directly opposite the hole just punched (same end of tube, just opposite side of cylinder). I used the leftover Christmas ribbon I had on hand (what? At least it's green for Earth Day) and, again using the skewer, pushed the ribbon into one of the holes I just created. I pulled the end way out to give me enough room to tie a double knot. I pulled out a length of ribbon and cut before repeating the same process on the other side using the other hole just punched.
Again using the pointy end of the skewer, I punched several holes in the tube, making a perforated circle, approximately 3 inches or so from the bottom (the opposite end of the cylinder from where you tied your ribbon. Once this was done, I simply punched out the large perforated circle. If you have an exacto knife, you can probably knock it out that way, but I was in a hurry and just used what I had on hand. Once this was done, I covered the end with the coffee filter and secure tightly with the rubber band. I then poked the skewer all the way through the tube about a half inch beneath the punched out circle and broke it off where I thought a good length for a perch would be.
Whew, done! Just add bird seed.
My punched out hole was a little rough, but no biggie for us since this was for a 4 year old project. If you wanted it a little neater, you could just tidy it up with a knife or scissors. I also broke out my paint pens and added a teensy bit of color.
Oh, and I realized in the shower this morning (where all great realizations occur, right?)that I had the punched out hole not near enough to the bottom of my tube (see how high up it is in the photo above). Not good since it would take a ton of seed to fill to that opening, and thereby making the whole thing too heavy. So before we left the house, I cut it again to shorten it up and reattached the coffee filter with the rubber band (you can trim the excess filter ruffle above the rubber band if desired). The bottom of the hole should be about 3 inches from the bottom of the tube/feeder.