|Spring has Sprung |
By Monica Gustafson
This time of the year I am often reminded of the little poem I used to recite as a child:
Spring is sprung, the grass is riz
I wonder where the birdies is?
The grammar is certainly not very good, but it reminds us of the changes that happen all around us in Spring. These changes of our world, in the warmth of the Spring, are a wonderful opportunity for a teachable moment so take advantage of it and take a Spring Walk!
The weather is taking a turn for the better these last few days so let's go and see what language opportunities we can find.
We can start with the clothing we wear. Talk to your child about how things are different from when you went out a few weeks ago. You can compare jackets - winter's is heavier and spring's is lighter. Your hat for winter was also warmer and we don't wear mitts anymore. How many different kinds of clothing can you think of? How are winter boots and rainboots the same and different?
Out we go! You can check the temperature each day to talk about the weather getting warmer. It was 7 degrees yesterday and it is 15 degrees today. Does it feel warmer to you? When you get out the first thing to look at, if there is any left, is a pile of melting snow. Remember how white the snow looked when it fell to the ground? Now it looks grey from all the dirt in it. "Where do you think the snow went?" and "What made it melt?" are some of the questions you might like to ask.
Point out the way everything looks now. The trees are still bare and brown, the grass is brown and there are no flowers. But then have a closer look. You might see some little green shoots starting to push their way up through the brown grass and the trees may have some green buds on them. If you are fortunate enough to have a digital camera, take a picture of your child in front of a nearby tree once a week for the next few weeks and see how it changes. If you have perennial plants, watch how their growth progresses over the next few weeks. With a ruler in hand you can chart the growth of the plants and see which one grows the fastest. You might even like to try growing a plant inside, to eventually transplant to a pot for the deck or front steps. Talking about the seed and how it forms roots and grows is a wonderful learning experience, especially when the final reward is a flower they can tell everyone they grew themselves!
What better time to start bird watching? When you are out for a walk, keep an eye out for our feathered friends that have returned. You might like to list the different kinds you see in the neighbourhood. There seem to be more each morning chirping by my window to let me know the sun is up and I should be too! While the trees are still fairly bare you can look for nests that have been left from last year. If you find one try to keep a watch on it, as the tree fills in, to see if another bird family adopts it. A bird feeder can also be an endless source of family bird watching and language learning.
Birds, of course, aren't the only animals that become more active and in the Spring. Are the squirrels scurrying up and down your trees? And have there been any baby rabbits eating those tender, green grass shoots in your front yard?
Our city is about to green up and come alive in then next few weeks so take the opportunity to let your child's vocabulary grow with nature.
Monica Gustafson is a Speech/Language Pathologist and the Author of 23 programming books for speech and language. After 34 years in the school system, she is now in full time private practice. Speech/Language therapy sessions for Preschool and School-aged children are available weekdays and evenings. For information on private sessions, phone: 896-3964 or email Monica.
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