Spring Activities for School

I am starting to get the Spring Itch as I see the first signs of the season appearing. My neighbor’s crocuses are blooming and the birds have begun migrating back to their summer homes.  Are you and your children getting itchy too? How about taking advantage of the warmer days to do the following activities. I have written school subjects in parentheses.

Take a nature walk Have your children take a picture on your phone of signs of spring. They can create a photo montage when they return home or draw pictures in a sketchbook. So many subjects can be covered by this simple activity. (Science- researching, labeling plants and animals; Handwriting; Fine Arts, and Physical Education.)

Feed the birds Even if you aren’t interested in feeding the birds throughout the year, a small bag of bird seed will bring the birds and squirrels to your home.  Your budding biologist can see if they can match the male and female species of birds. Cardinals are the easiest to ID since there are obvious differentiations of color. iBird and Merlin are apps that I use to help me identify unfamiliar birds. They are both FREE and are excellent resources. (Science- Your child can draw a picture of their favorite bird to be placed on your refrigerator:), in their room, or in a science notebook. Language Arts- A short report on a specific bird or squirrels can be assigned. Science- Observing and studying wildlife cover this academic area. Fine Arts- sketching, coloring the animals that come to the feeder)

Outdoor Play– As my mom used to say, “Go blow the stink off of you!” Have your children play a game of tag, play Hopscotch, play on the playset, run around the yard, ride bikes, or play jump rope. These activities all help with the physical well-being of your child and will aid them in sleeping. (Physical Education, Health, Safety- bike and playing safely on playsets)

Cloud Watching– Spring has some of the best varieties of clouds. If you have a day where there are puffy, billowy clouds either go outside or watch from a window. What can you learn about clouds? They are a good indication of the weather that is likely to come. You can use a poster like this for reference. (Science- observation, weather)  If you are interested in purchasing, click on the picture.

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You can also go to the Ducksters website to learn about clouds and have your meteorologist take a 10 question quiz after reading the material. (Win! Win! You can print off the quiz and use for documentation for school.)

Here are some nonfiction books for your children to investigate. (All parent approved)

 

If you have yet to be introduced to the Let’s Read and Find Out science series, you are in for a treat! These books are packed with interesting scientific information that is on an elementary level.

Clouds

Flash, Crash, Rumble and Roll

What Will the Weather Be?

Down Comes the Rain

Weather Words and What they Mean Gail Gibbons’s books are highly informative and have been a perennial favorite of mine for helping students understand science concepts.

A Drop Around the World is a  book about the water cycle that follows a drop of rain around the world.

 

Art History Disguised as Fun

Kristin Draeger has mixed art, history, and humor into Ancient Greek Pottery to make this a great resource for you. This is part of the Art History Curriculum Disguised as Fun series that has engaging books for your student to learn about the art of various time periods. She has done a fantastic job in combining pictures of artifacts and giving details about each piece. Kristin has pronunciations of characters that are on the artifacts and also describes the pieces you are seeing. I appreciate that the text is simple because it does not detract from the pottery pieces. I have included a page from her book for you to see.
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After you finish reading the pages you can go back through it as Kristin has a Hide-and-Seek game throughout the book. You can use this book in several ways: you can study the artifacts on each page in detail, use as a supplement to a history unit on Ancient Greece, research the pieces or period of time in which the art was created, take a field trip to your local art museum, do a study on Greek mythology, eat Greek food (yum!), Read the Newberry Honor book,  The Golden Goblet, or read the Percy Jackson series. If you are interested in reading a synopsis of each Percy Jackson book and perusing the teacher ideas that are on the website, click HERE .

I love Kristin’s humor and wish I could spend a day with her at an art museum. But, since that isn’t possible, her book is the next best thing. You can see the series for yourself by going to Kristin’s website: artk12.com

I also received the book, Mission Architecture: Disguised as Fun and this is a study in mission buildings. The comments of the cartoon characters that Kristin has throughout the book were comical and at the same time relatable as I have a tendency to talk about objects in obscure terms too!  There is a Hide-and-Seek in this book too;  can you locate the daisy? I know very little about architecture and have never seen a mission building, so I think this is a great introduction and springboard for further investigation.

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Ways this book could be used is to do a study about the mission buildings in California. Here is a site to learn more about them- California Missions TrailThe picture below is from another site that has a summary of the missions and details about each of them. California Missions Foundation.

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Other ideas for using this book: do the Hide-and-Seek that Kristin has created; have your children trace and color the state of California; calculate the distance from the northernmost mission to the southernmost mission; research the other missions that are throughout the state; write a report on one of the buildings, or choose an architectural element throughout the book to research or draw. Perhaps by reading this book, you would be interested in learning about Califonia history. Beautiful Feet Books has a  curriculum designed for 4th-6th graders that uses trade books set in Califonia as part of the curriculum. To learn more about it CLICK HERE.

 Have fun!  ~Lisa~

I received a free review copy of this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Ohio’s Great Zoos and Animal Parks

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I am going to be visiting the zoo quite a bit this coming year and, ever the educator, was thinking of all of the opportunities there are when you go with children. I will list the zoos first and then activities you can consider doing while you are there or when you are back home.

Just click the name of the zoo or animal park and it will take you to the link of that particular site.

Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Gardens– Hurry and plan your trip because zoo admission is half off until this Friday, March 8. The Zoo Babies are a huge hit in the spring (usually begins in April). Fiona the Hippo, another crowd pleaser who was born at the zoo is a now a 1000 pound toddler!

Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, set on 22 acres, is not only a place where you can see animals, but you can also take in the Zoombezi Water Park, the Wilds, go to the aquarium and play golf. What a great day of fun!

Toledo Zoo you can see an underwater view of hippos at the Hippoquarium, the only exhibit of its kind in the world. There is an aquarium here at this zoo as well as the Pro Medica Museum of Natural History that will have interactive experiences for visitors.

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo has the largest collection of primates in the United States. It also has Amur Tigers that are on the endangered species list.  Only 540 of them are known to exist in the wild.

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African Safari Wildlife Park located in Port Clinton, Ohio is a drive-thru park that is open daily. Here you can see guanaco, sika deer, Scottish Highlander cattle, bongo and many other species. If you have little ones or elderly family and friends there is no need to get out of your car to enjoy the interesting and diverse species of animals the park has to offer.

Wagon Trails Animal Park is located in Northeastern Ohio on 60 acres. You get to have a safari experience where you ride in an open-air safari bus to see and feed the animals. It is featured in USA Today as one of the “10 Great Places for a North American Safari.”

The Lagoon Deer Park operates from Memorial Day through the beginning of November. You get to be up close and personal as you stroll through the park, feeding the animals by hand. You can also pet the animals if you like. If you like fishing, bring your poles and bait so you can do enjoy relaxing on the banks of their 4 their shaded lagoons. You can even pitch a tent on Friday and Saturday nights to enjoy night fishing.

So, what kinds of educational things can you do at the zoo? I am glad you asked!

Social Studies 

  • Where is the animal from?
  • Locate that country/ region on a map. Color the country and learn about the habitat of the species. (Here is a map of the world.)

Math

  • How far is the country/ region from where you live?
  • How much does the animal weigh at adulthood? How much is that more than you?

Language Arts

  • What does the term endangered species mean? What does extinct mean? Further investigation- Were any of the animals you saw on the Endangered Species list?
  • Have your son/daughter write a science report about their favorite animal they saw at the park.

Art

  • Sketch or draw and color the animals they liked the best.

Science

  • Study the various classifications of the species. Science- study the meaning of the Latin name. (example- hippopotamus- Greek- hippos- horse potamos- river)
  • What kinds of jobs could you get by working at the zoo?
  • What is the Latin name of your favorite animal you saw.?