If you’ve experienced a lot of rainy days or even snow these last few months, there is some good news- spring flowers are already on their way from those April showers. The changing weather is bringing new and exciting things to see and enjoy outside.
Some of the first flowers to pop up may be in your garden- tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths are all early bloomers. In fact, you may have even started to see some of them around Earth Day! This is the perfect time to take the kids for a stroll to awaken the senses and appreciate all that springtime has to offer.
Teaching the Senses with Spring Flowers
Studies show that sensory play- using sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell helps children develop everything from motor to social skills. Spring flowers can be used to develop the senses and cognitive growth on multiple levels.
If your children are in the process of learning colors, flowers are a great way to practice. Wherever you are, have them describe the flowers they see. Make sure to talk about color, the number of petals or leaves, how many different types they see, and other great features of a flower.
When you were a kid, you may remember playing with dandelions- plucking them, rubbing them on your hand to see the color paint your skin. So, before you spray weedkiller on your lawn, consider letting them grow for sensory play. There are many activities that dandelions can be used for, including having the kids pick them all for you!
This sense is easy to tackle; you just need to ‘stop and smell the roses’ on your next adventure outside!
Sound and Taste
The last two senses seem a little harder to tackle at first. Sometimes hearing can be accomplished just by taking a moment to sit in silence around the flowers. On a windy day, they may hear leaves rustling against each other.
When it comes to taste, make it clear that we can’t eat just any flower! But, the produce we eat, especially from our garden, usually has a flower of its own. Just like the tulips or daisies we see, our produce needs pollinators to visit their flowers to grow the food we love. This might be a good time to sneak in some fruits or vegetables at lunch!
Gardening with Kids
If you are a gardener (or aspire to be), consider including your children in the activity. Gardening is a great way to teach caring and responsibility through understanding what a plant needs to survive and what happens if it doesn’t get the resources it needs.
Gardening also allows kids to play in the dirt from time to time, helping them experience the texture and feel of soil. Give them a little shovel to work on their motor skills.
Why Flowers Are Important
As children begin to understand how the environment is an important part of our lives through the Safety Pledge series, they can start to connect the dots between all of Earth’s resources, including our spring flowers.
Plants, including flowers, play an essential role in the environment- they provide clean air, purify water through roots, and help keep us fed.
Flowers are also a food resource for many living things, especially pollinators (bees, birds, bats, and more). Interestingly enough, flowers and other plants can’t survive without these pollinators! That means if we lost all of our flowers, we’d also lose many animal species and vice versa.
Other Activities with Spring Flowers
Kids can easily learn the parts of a flower in a fun way without pulling them out of the garden. Have them try making their own flower out of Play-Doh, pipe cleaners, or other similar colorful materials. Talk about how a flower starts as a seed, and just like the maple syrup trees, photosynthesis occurs when the leaves collect energy from the sun.
As you explore spring flowers, don’t forget to watch for birds flying by; you may even see some that visited your backyard in the winter!