It’s Finally Springish!
Author Julie Eastes
One year ago, in a nearby state park, we encountered a father with two young girls happily riding strider bikes through spring puddles. This past weekend the family was back, but the girls are now on big kid bikes. The signs of the season are all around us! It has officially been spring in Wyoming since March. There are days when the birds, busy with spring chores, sing outside my office window. They dance around on branches where tiny leaves are peeking out of buds. On other days, snow covers the evidence of spring under blankets of white. Children in Wyoming are resilient, often enjoying all seasons in one day. Snowy mornings give way to warm, sunny afternoons. In most homes and classrooms, snow boots sit by the door next to sneakers and sandals. Coats are scattered on the ground in outdoor play spaces after the snow melts in the warm afternoon sun.
As I look out my window this week, there is a light dusting of snow on the rooftops. Despite the gloomy weather, planting season is almost here. This is a perfect time for inviting children to explore gardening and planting. The Wyoming Early Learning Standards provide an example to get you started! Stories from the Field are real examples of Wyoming children and adults engaging in daily interactions that support early learning standards. These stories encourage connections between the standards and teaching. Under the subdomain Scientific Reasoning, check out the Plant Exploration story on page 36 of the Wyoming Early Learning Standards document.
In the story, Jaden works as a preschool assistant and shares his love for plants in the classroom. The children were actively involved in exploring potting soil, tools, plants, and roots. Connecting with children through seasonal experiences like gardening is perfect for classrooms, childcare settings, and homes. The story focused on how this invitation met scientific reasoning standards. Children are always learning, and standards are being met through play, daily routines, and strong relationships with the adults in their lives. Spring planting, outdoor play, exploration, mud kitchens, nature walks, bike rides, sensory experiences with water, sand, and soil, observing bugs, playing outdoor games, and listening to
stories all support standards! I especially like to find ways to include literacy in children’s daily lives and connect stories to the changing seasons. Libraries, bookstores, and virtual services ( Vooks https://www.vooks.com/) are excellent sources of children’s books, both classic and new. The following are perfect for spring.
A perfect companion for sharing planting, growing, and all about gardens with children. Standards are met on every page!
Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt by Kate Messner with art by Christopher Silas Neal
On those days when it’s hard to tell if it is winter, spring, or summer, Fletcher the fox can relate!
Fletcher and the Springtime Blossoms by Julia Rawlinson Illustrations by Tiphanie Beeke
There are many exceptional books by Eric Carle, but the following are fan favorites for spring:
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
The Very Quiet Cricket by Eric Carle
The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle
Explore this wonderful celebration of spring and other titles in the National Geographic series of picture books about seasons.
Everything Spring by Jill Esbaum
National Geographic Kids
One thing we can count on in most of Wyoming is spring wind! Children will be able to relate to Kate as she tries to stop the wind.
Kate, Who Tamed the Wind by Liz Garton Scanlon & Lee White
Finally, mark June 29 on your calendar and make plans for International Mud Day!
I always think of this poem when spring and summer arrive. My grandmother first shared it with me when I was 5. She was a firm believer in encouraging children to play outdoors and in mud!
By Polly Chase Boyden
Mud is very nice to feel
All squishy-squash between the toes!
I’d rather wade in wiggly mud
Than smell a yellow rose.
Nobody else but the rosebush knows
How nice mud feels
Between the toes.