The seasons provide such an abundance of learning opportunities for young children. At my kindergarten we embrace each season with enthusiasm and welcome the change with open arms. Exploring the seasons helps children to understand the worlds natural order and rhythm, it also provides so many fun experiences for you to enjoy together.
In early childhood there are so many ways you can explore the seasons through play. It doesn’t need to be “Pinterest” or “Instagram” worthy activities either.
It can be as simple as going outside and exploring your local neighbourhood or your own backyard. Look at the leaves in Autumn, the flowers and new growth in the spring. Summer always brings so many flowers and insects and in the winter there are many wonderful opportunities to explore rain and even ice if it gets cold enough.
One of my favourite ways to learn about the seasons is to celebrate each one by reading books about them and collecting nature treasures to match.
In the summer my son and I collect cicada skins and seeds for the next year and in the autumn we dry herbs and leaves. The winter brings frosts and even ice to our garden but also intresting sticks as they blow from the trees. Then the spring returns and we see our new bulbs pop up and collect the spring flowers to press and use for art. These are simple tasks but they are fun learning moments that you can share and bring together exploration, nature and the natural rhythm of life as it unfolds.
Exploring the seasons through play is one of my favourite parts of being a teacher. It offers endless fun and discoveries to be had.
Here’s a few of my favourite seasonal play ideas to get you started:
Winter: Freeze interesting items you find outside in an ice cube tray with a little water then let your children explore them with a jug of warm water.
Summer: Try collecting and drying seeds from summer fruits, flowers or vegetables.
You can use them for collages or to grow new plants from.
Autumn: Go on a hunt for leaves! See how many different types and colours you can find. Use the leaves to paint with or string them up in your home as a beautiful seasonal decoration.
Spring: Press your favourite flowers between some heavy books. After a few weeks you’ll have an array of vibrant dried flowers that you can make into cards or use for other activities.
There is a feeling of smug satisfaction that I got most things done without me cracking (ie screaming like a crazed cornered animal). Mindful Parenting is mentally exhausting, don't get me wrong. At the end of the day I'm DONE with validating everyone else, but coach Shirley says it gets easier as green brain state becomes your everyday, and I'm looking forward to that reality!
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