Happy spring! It’s time to get up, get out and get moving — for children and the adults in their lives. Below, you’ll find simple, easy and brain-boosting ideas to get little arms, legs and minds moving as the weather gets nicer. The best part of all these ideas is that they offer child care and early learning professionals the chance to both keep kids physically active AND to boost critical science, math, literacy and health skills.
Outside Time Expands Word & Nature Skills
Physical activity is a great way for you to spend time with the children in your care! Take the children on a hunt to find a four-leaf clover. Go on a walk and see if you can find new leaves or other interesting foliage. Take time to talk with the young learners about the different colors they see in trees, plants or flowers. This is a great way for children to build their vocabulary skills, which is a section of the Indiana Early Learning Foundations.
Rain, Rain? Still Time to Play!
If the weather is rainy you can still go outside, unless there is lightening or other dangerous weather. Children and adults can wear raincoats and boots to protect themselves from the elements. Encourage children to splash in the puddles and count how many times each child jumps in the puddles. Providers can discuss the colors of the sky and clouds, which ties into science (also part of the Indiana Early Learning Foundations).
A rainy spring day calls for indoor activities. Children can make lily pads out of construction paper. They can pretend they are frogs and jump from pad to pad across the room. Each lily pad can be numbered, so children can build their number skills. Counting any shape, from lily pads to clouds in the sky, gives children a fun way to learn math and number recognition. Explore more ideas for indoor, active learning.
Growing Gardens & Science Knowledge
Want to build planning and even more science into your lesson plan? Gardening is a great educational opportunity for children. Digging in the dirt builds and strengthens fine motor skills. Plus, gardening bridges indoor and outdoor learning – and to explore multi-day and –week processes. Sprout your seeds indoors, and then transplant the seedlings outdoors once the ground is warm enough. Children can discover which foods grow in the ground and which foods grow on trees. Gardening is an exciting way to incorporate science into your program.
Go Screen-Free with Families
Spring is also a great time to refocus on screen-free activities. Screen Free Week takes place from April 30th-May 6, 2018. This is a wonderful way to strengthen family engagement in your program. Talk to families about the importance of limiting screen time for their children – and for the adults as well. Post a big sheet of paper, provide markers and invite families to share what they like to do when they aren’t watching TV or using cell phones, tablets or computers. Learn more about screen-time guidelines for early learners.
Want to go deeper with any of these topics? Check out our resources below: