We’re so excited to welcome a new season with our Spring Unit study! This week’s lessons will cover a variety of plants and animals you see in the western hemisphere during spring. We’ll also tackle a variety of subjects, including math, science, literacy, and more! Download our printable tracker document to keep a record of the books you read, activities you complete, and the skills you work on.
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):
- The Reason for the Seasons by Gail Gibbons (or read it here on OpenLibrary)
- From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons (or read it here on OpenLibrary)
- Yucky Worms by Vivian French (or you can read it here on OpenLibrary)
- The Rabbit Problem by Emily Gravett
- The Secret Garden of George Washington Carver by Gene Barretta (or listen to this read aloud)
Optional additional reading:
- North and South: A Tale of Two Hemispheres by Sandra Morris (If you have this book from our Arctic Unit, you can pull it out again to discuss the different seasons in different hemispheres this week!)
Supplies (use what you have, but here are links to shop if you need anything):
- paper + access to a printer (don’t have one? we like this model)
- worm farm – Or you can make your own with a tall, transparent container, soil, sand, and earth worms.
- white cardstock
- rainbow popsicle sticks (or you can paint regular popsicle sticks)
- felt (dark brown, light brown, green, blue)
- dry lima beans (or similar bean)
- clear plastic cups
- paper towels (you can also use cotton balls or soil)
- play dough
- googly eyes (optional)
- small sticky notes (or you can cut up a large sticky note)
- gummy worms (these are cheaper to buy at the grocery store)
- baking soda
- clear tall glass
- laminator + laminator sheets (optional, but recommended for repeating lessons)
- dry erase markers (if laminating)
- black construction paper
- white crayon
- oil pastels (white, pink, black, light green, and dark green)
- ingredients for composting tea (banana peels, onion or garlic skins, used ground coffee, clean egg shells)
- ingredients for this recipe
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!
Depending on where you live in the world, you might be starting to see signs of the spring season outside your door. But what causes the seasons to change? Let’s learn more about it in the book The Reason for the Seasons. If you have North and South: A Tale of Two Hemispheres, you can also refer to this book to show your child how the seasons are different depending on where we live. Next, watch this video.
Activity 1: Two things that affect the seasons are the earth’s tilt on it’s axis and its revolution around the sun. These things affect the amount of daylight we get at different points in the year. Let’s bring this to life with this printable activity. Start by finding the average daily hours of sunlight in your area for each season. You can find this with a Google search, or use the sun calculator on this website.
Here’s what your orbit model should look like when it’s put together:
Activity 2: While we’re discussing seasons throughout the year, let’s also review the months that make up each season with this sequencing activity.
Activity 3: We’ve done a lot of serious mental work today—let’s end the day by working out some wiggles with this spring-themed gross motor movement activity! Feel free to repeat throughout the unit, especially if any spring showers keep you and your child indoors this week.
One of our favorite things about spring is seeing all the new life start to sprout! Today, we’ll be reviewing pollination and the plant life cycle. Your child likely already has some knowledge about this topic, and we will discuss it more in our Flowers Unit in a few weeks, but this will help you know how to meet them where they are while working in a few other subjects. Start by reading From Seed to Plant by Gail Gibbons (or read it here on OpenLibrary).
Activity 1: Let’s take a closer look at seeds, where all of this plant life begins! Start by creating this felt puzzle of the parts of a seed and working with your child to put it together and label the parts. You can also print the download in that post for our next activity.
Activity 2: Time to take our new knowledge into the real world by dissecting a seed! We recommend using lima beans for this. Start by soaking a few beans in water for the dissection (20 minutes should be long enough—but you may want to set this up in advance so it’s ready to go when you begin lessons.) Give your child a cutting board and a child-safe knife, or you can help them cut. Use the print-out from the previous activity to identify each part. Your child can color and label them on the printout as well.
Activity 3: Finally, let’s do some germinating! Use these instructions to grow bean seeds. You can use paper towels or cotton balls as your “soil,” but if you want to replant the bean sprouts in the ground later, it’s best to use real dirt to germinate your seeds.
(+) Want to upgrade into an experiment? Try different materials for soil and see which one grows the fastest. You could even try keeping one cup in dark cabinet to see how it grows in those conditions.
Spring showers bring flowers…but they also bring a lot of worms—and that’s a very good thing! Let’s learn more about these awesome creatures that do so much for the spring plants we love in Yucky Worms.
Activity 1: Now that we’ve learned so much about worms, what they eat, and their life cycle, let’s raise some worms of our own! Spend part of today setting up your worm farm if you purchased one. Alternatively, you could create this DIY worm observation jar version.
Activity 2: Let’s use worms to work on estimation and measuring with this activity.
Activity 3: Worms can even help your child with literacy! (Well, at least this one can. 😉) Click here to download this wormy beginning blends game for some play-based reading practice.
Activity 4: Dancing worms activity.
As the weather warms up for spring, a variety of animals start to emerge and have babies. One of our favorite spring creatures is the rabbit! Let’s learn more about them (plus a fun math problem) in The Rabbit Problem.
Activity 1: Do you know the difference between a rabbit and a hare? What about a bunny? Let’s find out in this video. After watching you can review the differences with a Venn diagram. Print ours here and work with your child to review the differences and similarities they remember.
Activity 2: Of course, there are lots of animal prints you might start seeing in the mud in the spring. Let’s explore (and measure) a variety with this activity.
Activity 3: Finally, let’s learn a bit about the most famous hare in the fine art world! Albrecht Dürer was a German artist who painted “A Young Hare.” (If you have the A Child’s Introduction to Art book, you can learn more about Dürer and this painting on pages 24 and 25.) Albrecht Dürer was one of the first fine artists to paint an animal on its own, and this painting received even more acclaim because it is so strikingly realistic. Even more amazingly, it was painted with watercolor, which can be very difficult to paint details with. Nevertheless, Albrecht Dürer was able to achieve a very detailed texture on his hare by using small brush strokes.
Let’s look more into how to create texture in our own artwork in this craft.
Spring is, of course, a time for gardening, but it is also one of the best seasons for science! Let’s learn about an inventor and scientist who had an incredible understanding of the natural world in The Secret Garden of George Washington Carver.
Activity 1: Has your child ever heard of George Washington Carver? He was a botanist and inventor who had a major impact on the farming industry—and gave people a whole new perspective on the humble peanut. This short video explains more of the science behind his discoveries and the challenges he overcame to make them.
Activity 2: One great way of putting nitrogen back into the soil is by composting (or using kitchen scraps and organic matter to create new soil), but it’s not always possible for everyone’s living situation. Let’s reap some of the benefits with this composting “tea” recipe that you can use to feed your garden or house plants.
Activity 3: George Washington Carver was an amazing botanist, but he is equally as famous for being a brilliant inventor. When he was finally successful in encouraging farmers to plant peanuts for a year to save the soil, a new problem arose: What to do with all those peanuts?? Carver then invented about 300 ways to use the peanuts, including in shampoo, lotion, paper, insulation, medicine, and more! (source) What do we learn? Sometimes the best inventions come out of necessity! For today’s STEM activity, we want you to encourage your child to come up with a solution of their own. Have them to try invent something that would make use of something your family normally throws away, encouraging them to instead reuse and upcycle it into something useful. There is no wrong answer to this activity, so let their imagination flourish!
Activity 4: Of course, one of our favorite ways to use peanuts is in food! Let’s make this Peanut Noodles recipe. The recipe is simple, so let your child make as much of it on their own as they can. (Can’t eat peanuts? Feel free to substitute for a different nut butter, sun butter, chickpeas, or soy butter.)
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