Life Cycles for Preschoolers

| March 10, 2009 | 1 Comment

OK, so there are a couple realities to working on “learning” projects with a preschooler:

1. Attention span that generally amounts to nanoseconds

2. The constant reminder that 37-year-old mom obviously knows far less than 3.5-year-old child

3. Permanent mess syndrome

4. Sitting at the dining room table is the LAST thing on anyone’s mind when the sun is pouring through the front windows.

But, the other reality is that with Spring comes my urge to plug into the world again, get our brains moving and unthawing after one very sluggish Winter. We need to get outside when it’s gorgeous and take it inside when the chill is still too much to bear.

Our lovely pals Abbie and Morgan gifted us with VERY COOL butterfly life cycle stamps from Learning Resources and our pals Bella and Maddie sent Melissa & Doug Baby Farm Animal Stamps our way a while back and I was feeling totally guilty since we had yet to pull them out.

Then, the tiny person and I were out talking to some local ranchers who were calving and saw pictures of our pals with the lambs recently born out at their place and we knew Spring had arrived. We’d found our perfect Spring project.

The tiny person is TOTALLY curious about the birth-life-death thing and Spring has totally sparked an unending series of questions about what lives, what dies and how the heck everything is born.

Just a walk to preschool in the rain gets us talking about all the worms on the road and where they come from. New nests are starting to pop up in neighbourhood trees and a wander out to the beach on Sunday revealed shorebirds in love with clams and other goodies.

But, how do you apply that to some sort of tangible project?

Paint and stamps, mamas. Paint…and…stamps.

We got down to business learning about life cycles with some fantastic websites including The Woodland Trust’s Nature Detectives, which has incredible ideas and resources for young nature lover.

With our Nature Detectives learning tools and cool stamps in hand, we hit the paint mat, using spray bottles to make some cool splatter art in Spring colours. 20 minutes of undivided preschooler attention.

We had to break for life. But, after the paintings dried, we busted out the safety scissors and Spring cookie cutters and made ourselves some stand-up Spring creatures. 15 minutes, give or take some yelling at me for not tracing enough birds.

Then, we moved on to life cycles. Science and the preschool mind don’t really make a linear connection. But, stamps and the preschool mind are a perfect match.

So, we got to stamping the birds with things they would eat, butterflies with things they used to be, flowers with our buzzing friends. 7 minutes…it was fun but short-lived.

We had a whole backyard habitat on our dining room table.

The cool part about it was that, the day after we finished we spotted a bird snacking on worms and the tiny person gave me the low-down on what birds eat, how mommy birds have babies and that she also wants to sit on her eggs when she gets older so she can hatch a human.

Ah, childhood.

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Category: ARTS & LITERACY, Nature's Classroom, Science

About the Author ()

Robin Rivers is the Project Development Director for Vancouver-based Mherge Media Group. Often can be found leaping tall buildings with the help of great friends. Predisposed to odd hats and the color orange. In love with imagination, her kids and that crazy guy who married her.

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