spring activities

Child’s Play That Rocks Now and In the Future

Does your child like rocks? Putting rocks in pockets also puts lots of learning, fun, and even kindergarten readiness into brains. Here’s another example of childhood play that grows along with the child and into adulthood.

Children all over the world collect rocks, and so does my friend and colleague Colin Martin. Just like the other adults featured so far: the mathematician that enjoyed numbers, the artist that drew on the wall about the age of 2, the designer that always liked to draw, the singer who dreamed of performing also about the age of 2, the nurse that played with Dr. Barbie, and others, as a child Colin had a play favorite–rocks.

children's play with rocksBefore Colin started school, he learned the names of the different kinds he found. At the age of 4, using ordinary glue, he attached his rocks on to a big piece of plywood. With a dial-up label maker, he painstakingly found each letter and created labels for his rocks. His treasures were not always greeted positively at home; nevertheless, his love of rocks endured and he now creates stunning jewelry designs with rocks and gems. Earlier this year, he packed a backpack and trekked off to some isolated corners to find more, leaving his electronics at home, so he’d have more room in his pockets and packs for rocks.

Rocks can help kids with attention and focusing. When gathering them, kids learn to pay attention to rocks and leave out other treasures. There’s vocabulary and talking about rocks, organizing skills, and problem solving. Through rocks, children also connect to nature. There’s all kinds of thinking that comes into play when collecting. Play, of course, is the significant word. As kids play, they also pick up information about colors, sizes, and shapes. Rocks can help with math and science. Just like Colin, kids will build and create, making forts, dens, and other constructions. Or they may bake rock cakes.

Colors on walls, rocks in pockets, and frogs in drawers (as my mother reminds me), are certainly challenges to parents’ patience but adults need to remember that play is important to a child. How children play can echo into the future. For some play fun today, can your child play with rocks?

Kindergarten Readiness: Popcorn Popping on the Apricot Tree

On our Earth walk yesterday we saw dozens of trees covered with white blossoms so today for some kindergarten readiness fun and learning we made something white–popcorn.science fun for young children

Popping corn is an activity that involves all the senses. We could hear the popcorn starting to pop and then more pops and more until it was quiet again. Then another one popped all by itself. The nose smells it all over the house. The eyes watch carefully for the first one and open bigger as the popcorn almost makes a waterfall. Best of all is the touching and tasting. Careful, it might still be hot.

spring activities for young childrenThere is a wonderful song about popcorn popping on the apricot tree. It was written in the late 1950’s by Georgia Wahlin Bello of Salt Lake City. She was inspired by her son who did indeed look out the window and say that. Lee echoed those same words about some neighborhood trees as she said “It looks like popcorn on the tree but it isn’t really popcorn. It just looks like popcorn.” When we came home after our walk we looked up some videos and listened to the song. Then we sang it too. For kids who are curious, it’s a great time to talk about seasons and how trees change. This is what some do in the springtime. Are there any popcorn trees in your area that can blossom into fun and learning?

Kindergarten Readiness: Picking Dandelions Math Fun

A play-of-the-day came with the unplanned spring activity of picking dandelions but it had some powerful learning and simple fun. When my 4 year-old helper came with me to a friend’s house, we had some tea at the table and noticed a package of bubble-tea straws, the really big ones.developing kindergarten readiness and early learningFour colors of straws came home with us. On our way to the car we stopped to pick some dandelions while Lee clutched the straws in her hand.developing kindergarten readiness and early learning
Needing somewhere to put the dandelions she slid them into the straws. Three dandelions filled the first straw, then another 3 were added to another straw. Content with her own plan, she carefully chose just the right flowers and just as carefully made sure each straw had 3. Proudly she showed me all four.developing kindergarten readiness and early learningUsing the opportunity, we counted each straw and yes there were 3 dandelions. Then we put them on the step and counted them. To make it easier, I put 2 straws on the left and 2 on the right. It was easy to see 3 + 3 making 6 flowers. That was enough, it was time to go.
developing kindergarten readiness and early learning This brief activity of making groups with straws and flowers may soon be forgotten, but these early kinds of experiences will create the foundation for learning the math concepts of addition, multiplication, and division farther down the road. This was definitely child-led play with a teachable moment.

developing kindergarten readiness and early learning

There may be some of these moments at your house today. Can you and your child make some groups of things for fun and learning?

Kindergarten Readiness: Spring Fun and Learning

Our first-day-of-spring walk for some kindergarten readiness fun and learning while connecting to nature had to get shortened to a quick dash. Actually, the weather here was more like all 4 seasons in a day. The cool, crisp spring morning became a sunny, wonderful noon, warm enough to hint at summer. The afternoon turned colder … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness: Spring Fun and Learning

Kindergarten Readiness Rocks! Rocks, Books, and Olympics

Reading and sharing books with kids is a powerful kindergarten readiness activity. Did you know that kids who have been read to at home have a “brain-bank account” of about 5,000 books by the time they enter school?  Just picture how much that will help in learning to read. These kids already know: how a … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness Rocks! Rocks, Books, and Olympics

Kindergarten Readiness Rocks! Young (Very) Entrepreneur

As our children play and learn they develop more than kindergarten readiness. This month, I’ve been highlighting learning activities with rocks; physical development, language, colors, sizes, shapes, science experiments, collecting, counting, patterning, art and other skills. But this is a rock activity that goes even beyond and into developing business skills. Bella has turned ordinary rocks into … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness Rocks! Young (Very) Entrepreneur

Kindergarten Readiness Rocks! Rocks in a Bottle

The ingredients of this bottle are rocks plus kindergarten readiness learning and fun. Just a minute or two on Pinterest is all it takes to find many super ideas for discovery or sensory bottles for kids. Since this month’s posts are learning activities with rocks, how about filling a bottle with rocks, stones and pebbles? … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness Rocks! Rocks in a Bottle

Kindergarten Readiness Rocks! Chalk is a Rock

Chalk is a soft porous rock that can be used for some kindergarten readiness learning and fun. I just discovered on Pinterest (some hours ago) several new ideas to add to old favorites. Drawing on the sidewalk, or driveway when the cars are safely out of the way, is great for really big pictures or giant letters. … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness Rocks! Chalk is a Rock

Kindergarten Readiness Rocks & Goes To Olympics

It’s almost the Opening Ceremonies and time for some kindergarten readiness and Olympic fun. I remember 2 years ago at the Winter Olympics when one of the symbols was the Inukshuk. This figure is made out of rocks and is used to point the way to others. The inukshuk is an ancient form of communication … Continue reading Kindergarten Readiness Rocks & Goes To Olympics