Spring into Learning
As soon as we spot the first robin hunting for earthworms in our yard and take in that earthy spring smell, our family likes to begin planning the flowers, vegetables, fruits, and herbs we’d like to grow. It’s fun to involve everyone in the process, from shopping for seeds, watering the plants and harvesting the bounties of our labor to create a delicious meal or snack. Exploring how food is grown and ends up on the table can impact children and families in making healthy food choices and in developing healthy lifestyle behaviors, including the willingness to try new foods. My son won’t eat tomatoes bought from the grocery store, but will take great delight in munching on sweet, cherry tomatoes picked fresh off the vine.
Spring is a time of discovery for young children after spending much of the winter indoors. Identifying signs of spring and asking questions about the changes taking place can lead to interesting conversation and insights into your child’s understanding of the world, while also encouraging growth in scientific thinking skills. There are many activities that you can do together to take advantage of the fresh air and spend quality time together as a family, such as taking a bike ride, bird watching, painting rocks, building a fort or jumping in puddles. Even better, we find biking through puddles to be immensely fun and satisfying! As Margaret Atwood stated, “In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” Make the most of the spring season before the heat of summer is upon us and we shift our attention to swim lessons, sand castles and lightning bugs.
MSU Extension Early Childhood Coordinator