“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn” (Benjamin Franklin).
Helping children learn about the world around them and their environment is a big part of early childhood education. As the seasons change, we can acknowledge the changes in weather, nature, daylight, as well as the more subtle changes (such as the seasonal changes on living things, availability of fruit etc.) to help children become more aware of the “rhythm of the year”, and to allow them to slowly build an understanding of the cycles that change the time, the weather, and the seasons.
Young children are usually eager to improve their understanding of the world which we can incorporate into a variety of activities. To nurture and enrich your child’s natural desire to learn, and to help them remember what they are learning about the seasons, you could read books and stories related to the weather, go on nature walks, collect nature items (treasure hunt: “Can you find some first signs of spring?”), draw pictures of seasonal plants and birds, and engage in daily rhymes, verses and movement songs related to the seasons during circle time (or at home).
Among other things, we have really enjoyed reading the “Quiet Bunny’s Many Colors” by Lisa Mc Cue, and are playfully following and repeating this story through storytelling & various art projects as we explore the first signs of spring here in Colorado!
- Cardstock or Watercolor Paper (pre-cut bunny shapes)
- 5″x7″ Canvas Panel
- Squeeze Bottles
- Tempera Paint
- Small Cardboard Scraps (rectangle shape)
- School Glue
Step 1: Introduction
I love the many ways we can enrich what children are experiencing through stories! Sometimes I like to tell children a story without a book, or play the story with puppets instead because it allows me to present a story or topic in a more artistic way that really captures the children’s imagination. It’s always an enchanting, magical and engaging experience that leaves the children inspired and eager to participate! I think it allows them to connect more deeply and imaginatively to a topic, and playfully enhances vocabulary, language and creativity before even engaging in an art activity:
“Introducing subjects through stories engages children’s imaginations and strengthens their inner picturing capabilities–their ability to create a picture in their “mind’s eye,” an essential skill for creative thinking later in life.” (Sarah Baldwin, Waldorf Teacher)
After retelling and recreating the story of the bunny from the wonderful spring book “Quiet Bunny’s Many Colors” by Lisa Mc Cue, we went on to color our own bunnies. The book bunny loves all the bright spring colors and searches for creative ways to color it’s own winter fur. Of course we’ll join the fun with bunny coloring activities!
Step 2: Spin Art Bunnies
Place a pre-cut bunny shape into your salad spinner (works with any other shapes too like butterflies, hearts etc.). Squeeze paint on top of your paper (children love this so much you might want to remind them that a few drops of paint are enough to color one bunny)! Close the lid and start spinning! Open to reveal! You can always add more paint if you’re bunnies need more color! Let dry. Turn into a garland, or glue onto a colored canvas like we did!
Step 3: Scrape Painting
If the salad spinner wasn’t already fun enough for mixing colors, try scrape painting! Squeeze a small dollop of paint onto your canvas (use red, yellow and blue paint!). Take a piece of precut cardboard (or old credit card) and drag it across the paper. Add another color, and scrape it over the canvas to blend and push, and criss cross the paints in any direction to create truly colorful works of art! We also pressed tissue paper shapes into the wet paint, no glue needed.
Children love scrape painting so much that you might want to have a few extra papers on hand to let them experiment to their heart’s content, or offer individual abstract scrape paintings + a giant group squeegee painting next (this was such a hit with our preschool class, and parents loved the frame-worthy results)! You can also experiment with coloring nature items in the salad spinner and turn them into Nature Mixed Media Wall Hangings!
Step 4: Collage
To assemble our bunny art, we glued our spin art bunnies onto our colored canvases and glued a pompom tail on top.
Optional: Bunny Stuffies
The children loved our story bunny puppet so much that I sewed individual bunny stuffies for all the children to color and take home. They are such a sweet reminder of what we did and what the children learned! Many parents told me that their children recreated our sweet bunny story at home! We decorated our bunnies with sharpies and watercolors (normal paintbrushes worked best with the watercolors vs. using droppers with which the canvas fabric didn’t soak up the colors as well).
Our bunnies sure love all the bright spring colors!