After painting my thoughts from a grey pallet with a cold winter brush, I pick up the same brush and find it changes color like a chameleon. The words coming from its tip are filled with sensory images that wake up the dormant muse. There is no doubt that spring has entered into the picture to spread its influence on my thoughts. How can I stay grey when yellow and purple crocuses wave their tongues as I pass by? How can I be cold when the earth feels warm in my hands? How can I take a breath of air without bringing the scent of grass and hyacinth to my nostrils? Spring is the season of poetry; it is the feast promised after the famine passed. It is the reason birds sing, and the sun shines. It is the reason I pick up a fresh piece of paper and a newly sharpened pencil and bare my soul in words.
Get your children outside on a SPRING SCAVENGER HUNT. Make a list of things to look for as you take a walk through the neighborhood or park. Some possible things to include on your list are: flowers of various colors, different kinds of birds, different kinds of trees/leaves, insects, things popping out of the ground, nests, etc. Or, make it a sensory hunt and try to identify various bird songs, nature sounds, smells from blossoming trees and flowers, taste of newly sprouted asparagus, rhubarb and strawberries.
If you can’t wait for the weather to get warm enough for planting and digging in the garden, try SPROUTING SEEDS. Seed packets are in grocery stores and it’s easy to try sprouting them with the kids. All you need is a package of bean seeds and paper towels.
1. Wet paper towels. Place3 or 4 seeds onto the wet towel, fold it to cover the seeds.
2. Place the folded towels in a warm area and keep them moist by sprinkling them with water every few hours.
3. Check the seeds every couple of days. You should see them sprout before a week is through. Don’t give up if it takes a little longer. The warmer the area, and the moister the towels remain, the faster the seed will sprout.
What to do with them once they’ve sprouted? While it might be tempting to eat your own sprouts, I wouldn’t. Some seeds are treated with certain chemicals and can cause illness. YOU CAN, however, plant them in dirt and have a “mini” garden on a windowsill. They can also be put directly into your garden outdoors when the soil is ready.
Try different kinds of beans to see how long each takes and compare their different characteristics. Take a photo and send it to me. I’ll post some of them here.
A study done by the U. of Rochester, 370 people were shown either images of man-made or natural objects and worked in space with or without indoor plants. Images of nature and indoor plants made people feel more connected, more caring and charitable toward others. Man-made images made people place more value on wealth and fame. Other research tells us that exposure to nature reduces stress.
So, if you’re looking for a gift that keeps on giving, try plants and photos of natural settings to help you through the dreary days of winter. Visit parks and natural areas as often as you can.
To view beautiful photos of nature click on Travel + Nature at: http://www.treehugger.com
Spring is just around the corner!
To get children interested in nature, take them
outdoors. It doesn’t have to be a park or forest. A playground, back yard or grassy field will do nicely.Get down on your knees and look for things hiding in the grass and under leaves and rocks. Most children have a natural curiosity when it comes to bugs, birds, and wild creatures. If you’re a bit squeamish regarding members of the insect population, try not to project those feelings onto your child. Most bugs and insects are harmless and fascinating to watch as they go about their business. A magnifying glass will add a level of “scientific authority” to the activity. It’s also fun to take along a camera or some paper and pencil to record what you discover. Have a contest for whoever can find the most different species.
Buds are springing up from the ground and on trees thanks to our mild winter. How many can you and your child identify? There are lots of field guides available to help you identify plants and insects. What are some of your favorite natural spaces?
Remember: “Take only photos, leave only footprints.
EARTH DAY is today. And Arbor Day is next Friday, April 29. You and your kids can show your appreciation for our beautiful planet in several ways.
Join the movement to plant 7.8 BILLION trees by 2020 – one tree for every person on the planet. Go to http://www.earthday.org for complete details.
2. 50 MILLION trees have been planted by the Arbor Foundation in America’s 155 National Forests over the last 2 decades. You can plant a tree of your own or give a seedling to someone else. Or, donate $25.00 and Arbor Day Foundation will add 25 more trees to our landscape. Visit http://www.arborday.org
4. Go to a local park or playground and pick up litter and items that can be recycled. Also, check out PREVIOUS POSTS on this blog for other earth-friendly ideas. Be kind to trees. They make life on planet Earth possible.
5. Read some fun books about the Earth and nature. One great title: MARTY MCGUIRE DIGS WORMS, by Kate Messner. Also, these two classics, THE LORAX by Dr. Seuss; and THE GIVING TREE by Shel Silverstein.
When I saw this beginner origami project online, I couldn’t resist posting it. ORIGAMI is the Japanese art of paper folding. If you haven’t already tried your hand at it because you thought it might be too difficult for young children to learn (or for some of us grown-ups…myself included), this project is a perfect place to begin.
All you need is some clean squares of paper. The nifty video below will show you the steps to create these adorable BUNNIES.
Just in time for spring! They make great party favors, table decorations, greeting cards. HOPPY SPRING!
Here is a pretty and simple craft even the youngest child can make for MOM for her special day. All you need to make some pretty Refrigerator Magnets are:
– Ceramic tiles of various sizes. The one in the photo is 1-1/2 inch square.
– rubber stamps and ink pads in assorted colors
– tacky glue for attaching the magnets.
Choose a rubber stamp and ink color. You can leave the design as shown in the photo, or color in the flowers with Sharpie Markers.
Attach several magnets to the back with the glue and let dry overnight.
Why not make several to give as gifts to all the women in your child’s life who do wonderful things. Everyone can use an extra magnet to hold up those lovely works of art our kids proudly bring home from school.