One of my themes in April is butterflies. It's a month-long science unit for us as we study the life cycle and actually watch our real caterpillars form the J-position, spin their crysalis and finally emerge as Painted Lady butterflies in about 14 days.
The Imagination Station Dress Up box is one of my Y5's favorite play centers. During April I have 4 pairs of butterfly wings and a 1/2 dozen foam masks for them to play with. It's so popular that I thought I'd make the time for everyone to make their own mask as a quick art center. It's always a big hit.
Pretending to be a butterfly and fluttering around the room is a wonderful gross motor activity. We have a "Quiet as a butterfly" parade in the hallway and flit and flutter in a line as well. We also do the Butterfly Pokey with our masks on. We lay our eggs, take our mask off, turn into hungry caterpillars, pretend to eat, spin and roll into our crysalis and then don our masks and emerge once more to flit and flutter as a butterfly. It's a great way to review the life cycle of a butterfly when you really become one! I hope you enjoy this science-art activity as much as we do! Click on the link to print/view the butterfly mask pattern and directions.
Bunny Bags: I LOVE when Easter is in April. It's hard for me to make time for baby animals (bunnies, chicks, lambs, ducks etc.) in March with reading month and everything else that goes into that already-crammed season. Here in Michigan it's also still snowy in March and let's face it, who is in the mood to don spring-like clothes and white shoes when you're still tromping around in soot-covered snow and the north wind is blowing off those pretty little bonnets! Not me!
With Easter at the end of the month this year, I have plenty of time to make these adorable little bunny bags. It's a super easy and quick center that my students enjoy. I buy 2 bags of jelly beans and some plastic eggs from the Dollar Store.
As my Y5's complete their Tabletop lessons and bunny bag art center they get to come over to my table and work one-on-one with me. They tuck some Easter grass in their bag, choose an egg, drop it in their bag and then we tie it shut with bows if they are a girl and staple it shut if they are a boy. If you don't want to do the jelly bean part you can have them stuff their bag with some tissue paper.
When everyone is done with their bag we get in a line and I play the Bunny Hop. We do that for a few minutes and then everyone takes their bunny bag to their backpack. I don't instruct them to do so, but most of them hop to their lockers. Too funny!
I make these every year for our grown children and set them at our Easter dinner table. I use them as place settings and put everyone's names on them. They are much cheaper than traditional Easter baskets, and look festive on the table. I simply fill them with an assortment of candy.
Just because they are young adults doesn't mean they don't enjoy a sweet treat! You can also buy tiny white bags and make a much smaller bunny version and fill with jelly beans or a few chocolate eggs. Click on the link for a Bunny Bag pattern.
I have a monthly handprint keepsake booklet idea that you can do each month. Click on the link and it will take you to my free September stuff. It's listed there. It makes a wonderful Mother's Day gift or end-of-the year gift to tuck in a bag for graduation. My favorite handprint is the bunny. It is also the handprint that gets the most ooh and ahh comments when I hang them in the hallway.
Cut 5x7 rectangles of powder blue construction paper for boys and bright pink for your girl students. Paint the child's palm, pinkie and pointer fingers white and press onto the middle of the paper. When their prints are dry they work with me one-on-one. I give them a dab of glue to fasten a small pink pom pom nose and two wiggle eyes to make a face for their bunny head.
While it's still wet I let them sprinkle on some opalescent glitter to add a bit of sparkle so that it looks like bunny fur. It adds just that extra bit of pizzazz!
Holding their hand we make a mouth with hot pink puffy paint. If you're not making a keepsake booklet, these make adorable spring cards for the children to take home and give to their families. If you're a Christian school you can make these into Easter cards. Our verse is: Happy Spring! You're some-bunny special! Love from your little honey bunny ____________. Click on the link for the Spring card insert.
Since everything is "greening" up especially the grass, it's the perfect time to make "grass heads"! All year long we have been studying how things grow, from our initial science unit on apples through October's pumpkins and then in March with our potato-pot study. It's now time to grow some grass! I call these "Cutie Cups!"
I teach my students the chant: Water - Seeds - Soil and Sun make growing Fun! (We do finger movements for each word. i.e. The rain falls on the seeds that we planted in the soil, that we patted down, and then out comes the big round sun. We sign the word fun. )
My students put spoonfuls of topsoil in a styrofoam cup 'til it is almost filled to the top. I write their names on the cups. They sprinkle a spoonful of grass seed on top and move it around with their finger so that it is spread around, and then they sprinkle a bit more topsoil on top of their seeds and finally add a tiny bit of water. Finally, they put their cup on the window sill in the sun.
We have a cup that we put in the shade that will not get sun but will be watered and a cup in the sun that will not get water so that the children will see what happens to those cups. A child is chosen each day to "spray" the cups until they are damp. I use a water mist bottle. I found this was the best way to water them as little ones tend to literally drown the cups with too much water from a regular sprinkling can and the seeds would be floating every day.
We graph how many days it takes before the grass sprouts. At the end of a few weeks our grass is long enough for the boys to give their grass heads a crew cut. I remind them not to cut it too short. The girls decide if they want to have their "grass head" have a pony tail or pig tails and then I help them tie their hair do's with ribbon or yarn bows. The children draw faces on their grass heads with markers and then everyone takes them home. These students were absent so I drew their faces for them to be sent home for spring break with their siblings. Wiggle eyes are also a fun addition.
My Y5's really enjoy this activity and it's a fun way for them to learn more science. Sometimes I'll keep these around 'til Mother's Day and tie them up with Red, white and blue ribbons and send them home with my Cutie Cup poem. If I decide to do this, I'll have the children plant their grass in an extra Dixie cup and insert it into the styrofoam cup.
I'll have them spend more time decorating the outside face cup so that it's more of a keepsake. I'll also have them glue thier school photo on the back and write "Love from your little sprout" on the back of the cup with the date.
I hope these ideas gave you a few more things to plug into your spring activities, or something that you can do with your little ones who'll be home with you over spring break.
As always if you have something fun that you do with your students/children I'd enjoy hearing from you. firstname.lastname@example.org Thanks in advance for making the time to care and share.