Spring Is the Season of Opportunity!
“As the flowers bloom again, awaken your spirit in the hope of new life. Let the warm kiss of Spring, the re-birth of the colorful buds, green shoots, the unfolding blooms and the morning bird song, once again refresh you in Nature’s eternal regeneration of life.”
One of the kids and my favorite things to do with the arrival of spring is to listen and watch for the new birds that have made their way back up north. We have a bird feeder outside our craft room window that makes for a great place to watch and draw the beautiful birds that stop in for a visit! If you haven’t tried this yet, sketching birds with kids is a great activity. Actually, sketching birds at any age is lots of fun!
Do you have a seasonal nature table or display? Each season we set up a spot in our home with objects from nature for the season. This is a great idea for kids because it connects them to nature and science, and allows them to explore it a little further. Depending on their age, you can have them help select what you might put on your nature table to celebrate the season. Some spring ideas: Spring books about birds, flowers, animals coming out of hibernation, bird feathers, bird nests (one you’ve made or something you’ve bought at the store – or if your lucky, maybe a real one), painted wooden bird eggs, paint brushes, water color paints, colored pencils, bird feathers, magnifying glass, binoculars, spring flowers (sometimes we cut pussy willows or forsythia early and put it in a glass jar to open inside the house)…. anything else that you think of that fits the theme and encourages the senses and investigates nature.
The Nature Connection is a fantastic workbook for kids! I have used this over and over again with my kids. It’s full of great ideas for what to look for and do every month of the year.
We enjoy scavenger hunts all year round every season and they aren’t just for kids! If you’d like to find some already made up for you, check out the Mass Audubon’s Nature themed Bingo cards: https://www.massaudubon.org/get-outdoors/young-explorers/explore-a-sanctuary/nature-bingo
Or you can make your own scavenger hunts – some ideas are to have a scavenger hunt theme to look for: seasons, types of birds, bugs, plants/trees/flowers. For younger kids you could have them look for colors in nature or patterns.
Below are some great books about birds that we’ve enjoyed over the years:
- A Nest Full of Eggs by Priscilla Belz Jenkins
- Crinkleroot’s Guide to Knowing The Birds by Jim Arnosky
- National Geographic Kids Bird Guide of North America by Jonathan ALderfer
- The Boy Who Drew Birds: A Story of John James Audubon by Jacqueline Davies
- About Birds A Guide for Children by Cathryn Sill
- The Little Book of Backyard Bird Songs by Andrea Pinnington
Making bird nests with kids is another fun way to study birds and celebrate spring. One idea is to use clay, shape it into a nest shape and add outdoor materials birds would use like moss, sticks and dirt. Shape some clay eggs with air dry clay and paint when dry.
I remember loving to make these nests when I was a kid! These chow mein nests come together with just a few ingredients. We like the flavor combination of chocolate and butterscotch.
- 1 1/2 cups Butterscotch chips
- 1 cup milk chocolate chips
- 6 oz Chow Mein noodles
- 1 bag Cadbury mini eggs, jelly beans or other egg shaped candy
- Melt the butterscotch chips and chocolate chips either in the microwave or on top of the stove on a double boiler. We usually put the chips in a heat safe bowl on the stove over a small pan of boiling water. Stir continually until everything has melted.
- Pour your chow mein noodles into the bowl and stir to coat with the chocolate mixture.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Scoop some of the chow mein mixture onto the parchment paper and carefully move the pieces to mold them into nest shapes. You also can line a muffin tin with cup cake liners and put your nests in there.
- Place about 3 egg candies onto the nests.
- Place in fridge to harden quickly, or allow to harden on counter for a couple hours.
Hope these Spring nature themes help brighten your day and time at home as a family.
“The beautiful spring came; and when Nature resumes her loveliness, the human soul is apt to revive also.” —Harriet Ann Jacobs