Yesterday we took a neighborhood walk. Above us in the bright blue sky, hawks darted at one another in mating rituals. My daughters and I counted 27 bee sightings, 12 ladybugs, and six different shades of yellow. Spring has come!
In our house, this means a few changes in reflection of the seasons. Our will shift from winter’s whites and blues to the bright bloom colors of spring. Egg and flower shapes will replace pinecones. I’ll also change-out the books out in our living room book basket to include ones with a spring, or spring holiday theme, and weed out those from winter. Our long-ignored veggie garden will now begin to get its due.
Of course these things are just goals at the moment and I repress the urge not to say them publically, lest I don’t get around to them until summer. But if I shoot for small changes day-by-day, I know we can 'spring-ify' this place in no time. Besides, with all the color in bloom already, it’s hard not to want to celebrate! As we do, my hope is that my kids will internalize the change of seasons that’s not always so easy to see in San Diego. Maybe they will even feel, internally, that those same rhythms move within us all.
So in celebration of Mother Earth’s time to rise and shine, here’s a fun egg craft that my daughter did in class—perfect for Easter, and/or a little nature table—as well as a few books that we cherish for spring:
Egg Sun-Catcher Craft:
- Use a white egg, poke small holes in the top and bottom and blow out the insides of the egg.
- Meanwhile ask the children to tear craft tissue paper (not the gift-wrapping kind) into small pieces.
- Get the egg wet.
- Then stick different shapes and colors of tissue paper onto the egg, allowing some to overlap. The water will allow it to stick, and more water can be brushed on with paint-brushes or a cotton ball if needed.
- Allow the eggs to dry.
- When dry, the children can peel off the tissue paper to see the colors and patterns on their eggs.
- You can string these with embroidery thread and a long needle to hang them. You can add a translucent bead at the bottom end, before the knot, for more of a sun-catcher effect.
Spring Children’s Books:
* The Story of the Root Children, written and illustrated by Sybille von Olfers, Floris Books 1990: This was originally a German book from 1909 called, Etwas von den Wurzelkindern. The story actually encompasses all the seasons, but it starts with spring, where Mother Earth awakens the root children with her candle so that they can begin to make their clothing and polish the beetles and bugs in order to go forth into the world. After playing in the fields and ponds and meadows all summer, Mother Earth welcomes them back into their home underground in autumn and settles them in for a nice long winter sleep.
This sweet and gorgeously illustrated book is lyrically written in a present and excited way that appeals to children. The story it tells is one that helps even grown-ups internalize just how simple, perfect and universal the rhythms of the earth truly are.
*Spring Things, written by Bob Raczka, illustrated by Judy Stead, Albert Whitman and Company, 2007: This book is geared more toward small toddlers, with no more than three words per page. But the rhyming text and bright and stylized illustrations appeal, even to my 5-year-old.
Here, winter melts into spring with the sights and sounds of hopping and skipping, snowing and mowing, and blading and lemonading. It’s a great way to understand all the best things that come with spring.
*The Easter Egg, written and illustrated by Jan Brett: Ms. Brett rules, as far as we’re concerned, for her ability to create well-told tales with unbelievable illustrations of the natural world. The incredibly detailed examples of the different types of eggs being made by talented bunnies all hoping to be chosen by the Easter Bunny as his favorite, are no exception.
The best part of this story is that he doesn’t pick the chocolatier creating delectable eggs of great detail, the portraitist who takes pride in creating tiny realistic likenesses on his eggs, or the woodcarver and his masterful wooden egg designs. Rather, the Easter Bunny chooses an unassuming bunny who spends his time caring for a robin’s egg that’s fallen, rather than creating his own egg for the contest he’d really love to win. I can’t say which I like better here: the tale or the art!
*My First Passover, written and illustrated by Tomie de Paola. G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1990: For those of you who want to introduce your children to the major Jewish spring holiday of Passover, this is a good one. Simple and short text tells of a family who celebrates the day and all the rich traditions it brings. Illustrations include gold-foil, which smaller children especially love. This book is aimed at babies and toddlers, but, once again, my kindergardener still likes to read it and remember the fun of this holiday.