Level 1: Spring Unit

Spring is one of the four seasons. The transition from winter to spring makes us think of the earth waking up and getting busy. The sun shines longer each day, trees and flowers bloom, gardens are planted, baby animals are born and bugs come out from the ground. Let’s welcome spring with some of our favorite books and hopefully a visit to a local garden or farm. Don’t forget to download our printable tracker to keep a record of the books you read and the skills you work on this week!

Note: Occasionally we include project upgrades (for kids ready for more) and modifications (which can be useful for including younger siblings). We’ll mark those with the plus (+) or minus (-) symbols.

What you need:

Books (find at your local library or order below on Amazon):

Supplies (use what you have, but here are links to shop if you need anything):

What to do:

We recommend doing the below lessons in this order to build on each skill your child will develop, but don’t feel that you *need* to do them in this order. Do what works for you and your child. If they love an activity, feel free to repeat! Not a winner? Skip and try the next thing. Have fun!

Letter of the week: S

New to the letter of the week? Start here! Next, print your letter S coloring sheet and Letter Guide. This week’s lessons talk a lot about the change of season, making S a super choice of letter of the week! Let your child color the coloring sheet as you work through the next part of the lesson.

The letter S makes two different sounds: /s/ as in “spring” and /z/ as in the sight words “is” and “as.” It’s also common to hear the /z/ sound at the end of words like “leaves”. Reinforce the sounds with our Letter of the Week Song.

Remember, the guide isn’t a worksheet! The first page is for you, the grown-up. Use it to introduce the letter name, the sounds it makes, and to demonstrate how to draw each letter. Display the Letter Guide in your school area along with the completed coloring sheet to reinforce the lesson throughout the week.

Next, use the second sheet to create a page for your child’s phonics book. Review the book a few times each week until your child has mastered these phonics.

Lesson 1:

Start the week by reading The Reason for the Seasons to learn why we have seasons. This is also a great time to make connections to everything we learned in the Outer Space Unit and also connects to the Light, Shadows + Rainbows Unit. (Can’t get the book? Visit this site for lesson details and a video.)

Pro tip: This book has a lot of information that might go over your child’s head. Depending on their age and interest level, they might not want to sit for the whole thing. That’s ok! If they seem to be losing interest in the text, just focus on the pictures and get them right to the point: We have seasons because the earth has a tilt. Remember, you are just building a foundation and they will come back to this several times over the next few years.

Activity 1: This four seasons printable is a great way to visually review the four seasons. Print both sheets on white cardstock and have your child color in the pictures. Next cut out the segments and layer them using a brad. 

Activity 2: What is commonly seen in spring? Flowers! Let’s play a spring movement flowers game to practice pre-reading and literacy skills while getting everyone moving. Print out this flowers printable twice. Cut out the flowers and attach them to crafting sticks using glue. Write movement instructions like jump, skip, run, hop, spin, leap, crawl, shake, bend and tiptoe and the bottom end of the crafting stick using black marker. Place all the “flowers” in a vase or pot. Ask you child to pick a flower and either (-) identify the letters, say the first sound of the word, or (+) read the whole word. Finally, follow the command on the flower. Continue picking flowers and moving until your vase or pot is empty. Use this activity throughout the week whenever your child needs a break from lessons or has the need to move.

Activity 3: Spring trees are one of the most beautiful parts of spring. Let’s make a spring tree craft as we learn about the cherry blossom trees at the U.S. capital. (See more pictures here!)

First, print this tree trunk (you may want to print it onto sturdier paper, like cardstock). Next, you can use either tissue paper or paint to fill out your tree. If you choose to use tissue paper, have your child first glue 1-inch squares of green tissue paper all over the brands to make the leaves. To create your blossoms, take 1-inch squares of pink tissue paper and bend them over a pencil eraser to make tiny cup shapes. Add a dot of glue to the bottom of the cup and stick it onto the tree.

If you prefer paint, you can either use fingerprints or a cotton swab to dot on green leaves and pink blossoms until your tree is complete!

There are many places that feature cherry blossoms, so check your local area and try to visit any local to you this week—they are likely in full bloom. (Or check for virtual tours as well!)

Lesson 2:

Begin by Reading From Seed to Plant to learn about the plant cycle. We will discuss this more in our Flowers Unit in a couple of weeks, so it will be a good time to establish what your child knows before digging deeper into pollination then.

Activity 1: Today, we want to reinforce the life cycle of a plant from seed to flower using this printable. We are going to use it to work on two skills: sequencing and narration. (Read this blog about why this important skill that your child naturally already has needs to be reinforced and practiced to increase literacy and writing abilities.) Here’s how to do it:

  1. Color and cut the four stages.
  2. Demonstrate sequencing. For example, you could point to each picture and say, “If I had to describe this picture I would say, ‘First, the seed is planted. Next, the seed sprouts. Then the sprout becomes a plant. At last, the plant grew a flower.'” Model using the phrases: first, next, then, and last to show sequencing. 
  3. Next, try these suggestions for practicing narration:
    • Have your child tell you about each stage as they paste the stages in a circle to show a cycle.
    • Have your child tell you the stages and you write (scribe) what they say. Help them to create a complete sentence for each stage. Praise their use of descriptive words.

(+) Is your child ready for copywork? Have them copy your sentences using the lines on the last sheet of the printable.
(++) If your child is ready to create their own sentences, begin by scribing their sentences and have them copy them.

Pro Tip: Your child is transitioning from spoken to written language. This is a huge leap when it is finally complete! In the meantime, this transition takes time, so it’s ok that it is slow. Encourage your child to use their spoken language, and demonstrate the transfer to written language by scribing their words. When it’s their turn to write, allow them to work at their own pace. If they aren’t able to complete all four sentences, praise the work they did do and move on. Writing is a difficult task for little hands. As they build their hand strength and their confidence, the writing will come more naturally. And remember: You are doing a great job! You are your child’s cheerleader, and we are yours!

Activity 2: Let’s grow something this week! First, print and review this printable about germination with your child. (You may wish to cut out the pages and create a small booklet with a stapler or by lacing the ends of the pages together.) Next, set up this simple bean planting activity. It will need to be kept up all week, but beans grow so quickly you will have something to see before the week is up. Reinforce the need for watering but not drenching our bean. Talk about how moderation is needed. Too much water and the bean will rot; too little and it won’t sprout at all.
(+) Use this plant observation printout to help track the progress of your beans in the coming days and weeks. (You can print more copies, if needed.)

Activity 3: Raindrop math. Laminate the printable if possible so that you can use it all week long and beyond. Practice adding and writing number sentences with this hands-on activity. Roll a die to get the first number of your number sentences. Write the number on the first cloud and count the rain drops – covering each drop with a counter or simply cross it off. Roll the die again to get a second number and write it in the second cloud, counting more rain drops. Count all the raindrops together to get a sum. Write the sum in the third cloud. Finally, practice reading the number sentence together. “Two plus four equals six.” Repeat as often as your child remains interested in the activity.

Lesson 3:

Begin by reading We Are The Gardners. This book helps teach important lessons in gardening but also about determination. Talk about the message of not giving up even when things fail or get difficult. This would also be a great day to visit a local farm or vegetable garden space. (Most of today’s activities will be more meaningful after visiting animals in person.) Let’s learn more about what we would find in a small farm today.

Activity 1: Baby farm animals are born in the spring. Use this activity to learn the names of baby animals and match the babies to their moms and dads. If you get to see these animals in real life, then use this later as a review. 
(+) Use the names of the animals as spelling words. Use Montessori movable letters or your rock letters to spell out the words.

Activity 2: Learn all about raising chickens in a farm by interviewing someone in your area who raises them. Here’s a list of questions you can ask them:

  • Where do chickens sleep? 
  • What do they eat?
  • Is it a lot of work to raise chickens?
  • Are they messy?
  • How many eggs do your chickens lay each day?

Can’t make it out to a real chicken coop? We toured a farm near us to learn more about how to take care of chickens—watch the video here!

Now let’s make our own shoebox chicken coop. Click here for the tutorial!

Activity 3: One common springtime activity is the shearing of sheep’s wool. Why must sheep be sheared? Learn the answer here and retell the story to your child in your own words. Next, do this fun sheep shearing activity. The tutorial is a video, so here is a still photo of the sheep template to copy:

(+) Want to expand this lesson? Pull out a map and find New Zealand and share details about the Golden Shears competition. It is considered the most renowned shearing contest in the world and it has even been called “the Wimbledon of shearing.”

Activity 4: Farm sensory bin. Create this free play area with as many of your own items as you already have at home. You can use shredded paper instead of straw for the base. Do you have corn kernels left over from our Five Senses Unit ? Use that for your feed. There are farm animal figurine toys you can buy, but you might have alternatives at home. You can use puzzle pieces, toys, pieces from other games, or these printouts that can be laminated. If you have play vegetables, you can add those, too.

Next, bring your sensory bin to life! Make a mud pile for the pigs, a water bath for the ducks, and a barn for the cows. Bring in grass or leaves to add some natural elements to your bin. Other items can include: farm tractor, farmers, buckets, or any other items that can act as gardening tools. Finally, play this song for some extra inspiration while they play.

Lesson 4:

Start today by reading Are You a Ladybug? This insect is a popular spring bug that is very helpful to plants because they eat smaller bugs like aphids that eat the leaves of plants.

Activity 1: Ladybug name hat. Let’s practice name writing while we build a fun headpiece. If your child hasn’t practiced this lately, be sure to have their name spelled out for them on a sheet of paper so that there is a clear model for them to copy. (You can cut strips of red cardstock or construction paper and decorate with black spots to make the hat band, and we made a printable for the eyes here.)

Activity 2: Ladybug life cycle craft.

Activity 3: This ladybug game board can be used to practice sight words, letter sounds, or any other letter learning you are currently working on. You will need a stack of sight words or letters in addition to the print-out. You could use ladybug magnets like the blogger, or you can create your own ladybug moving piece by printing out an extra sheet of the last page. Cut out the ladybugs and tape them onto a moving piece from another game (like a checkers piece).

Activity 4: This printout can be used as a craft and as copywork.
(-) Not ready for copywork? Try using rock letters from previous lessons or other letter manipulatives to build the word “ladybug.”

Lesson 5:

Get ready for some spring art, music, and cooking!

Activity 1: Let’s get moving and dancing with this spring song. Stand up to sing and move together!

Activity 2: Rene Magritte was a Belgian artist famous for painting surrealism. Surrealism is an artistic movement that means “more than real”. Artists who paint in this style are trying to challenge what is real and what is unreal. He wanted to surprise us by what he painted. Even though he painted everyday things like apples and birds, he wanted to paint them in a new and different way to get our attention. Sometimes he changed the size of an object or exaggerated the parts or put the something in the picture in a strange order. Look at this picture called Spring. What do you notice about the bird’s size and its coloring? Does the bird look real? Is that what birds really look like? What’s missing from the bird? What about the nest with eggs on the wall? Does that look real? What about the trees? Do they look like they match the bird? Is that right? Does this painting make you feel silly and happy? It makes us excited for spring!

Now, are you feeling inspired?  Let’s create our own art using a surreally-fun collage activity.

Activity 3: Spring has inspired us in so many ways this week. Let’s celebrate all that we learned with a Dirt Cup Dessert. This recipe includes “worms,” so you can refer back to the Gardeners book to talk about the importance of healthy soil when planting vegetables.

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Published by The Learn + Live Letter

The Learn + Live Letter is a play- and project-based homeschool curriculum for children ages 3-12.

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