Invitation to Play | Spring & Easter Baskets
I have a couple of ideas I want to share with you! As mush as possible, I aim to gift experiences rather than things to my children. I want them to learn through experience, create memories, and ignite their curiosity and imagination.
Sometimes I find a lot of support in resources, but I try to choose them intentionally. In my film class we say, “no unmotivated zooms.” In other words, don’t just do it because you can. What’s the intention behind it? Create art and play on purpose! I feel a lot of stress and anxiety around gift giving holidays, because I anticipate lots of candy, stuffed animals, and plastic toys. While those items aren’t necessarily bad, I just don’t understand the motivation behind them. So here are my Easter basket ideas (with Spring in mind).
Invitation to Play - We are the Gardeners
Starting with books, I chose to theme this gift around gardening, seeds, and growth. What better way to talk about the season of Spring? I like that this gift teaching about the plant life cycle while also offering children an opportunity to contribute something. They can plant the seeds and watch them grow. Plus, what kid doesn’t love dirt!
We are the Gardeners is children’s book by one of my faves, Joanna Gaines. It’s gentle illustrations are calming and interesting to look at, while the story offers lessons in trying something, overcoming obstacles, and finding joy in hard work.
Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt, by Kate Messner, is another fantastic book about the seasons. She has brought to life the abstract quality of life below the surface. How everything becomes dormant and then wakes up again. It makes the garden a magical place. I love the beauty of the relationship between child and grandparent as well. I think both books have strong messages about a task, roles and responsibilities, and reward.
From Seed to Plant, by Gail Gibbons, is a great visual for learning more and digging into the plant life cycle. Excellent pictures, vocabulary, and experiments!
I really love Green Toys, because their products are made from recycled plastics. What better way to get them started in the Garden than with a sustainable watering can and tools!
Lastly, I would take a trip to the local plant deport, Home Depot, or Lowes. Let the kiddos pick out the seeds they want and then get started! Some other ideas to grow your garden? Raise your own butterflies, or a praying mantis egg. Lady bugs are also wonderful!
Invitation to Play | We are Bird Watchers
Mama Built a Little Nest is one of our faves. Don’t let the title fool you, Jennifer Ward’s children’s book describes how both mama and papa birds build nests. One of my favorite things about spring is the sound of birds. The quiet of winter has vanished and the air becomes noisy and full of life. As a meditation practice, we sit outside and describe what we hear. Birds are always at the top of the list. I love when River asks questions like, “why is he so loud?” or “why does he keep making the same sound over and over again?”
A Nest is Noisy is another great one! It connects so well to these kinds of conversations and wonderings. In it, Diane Hutts Aston makes poetry with facts. If you love this book, you might also like A Seed is Sleepy or An Egg is Quiet.
We live in the Hudson Valley and so I love the idea of learning about birds that are native to our region. As an activity, I would make flashcards with these stickers. No need to get fancy, simply let your child stick these on index cards and then write the name on the back! You could even make two of each bird and ta da! A matching game!
You can make or purchase a bird feeder. Or maybe some binoculars to go hike and bird watch! If you live in Beacon, Dennings Point might offer you a glimpse at some bald eagles!
Invitation to Write
Some ideas to get kids writing no matter their age. Give them a journal and invite them to draw what they observe, reflect on or write down the process, log questions they have, or even create little stories about they see. Give them a journal like these field notes so that they might record their findings. Let them lead and follow their curiosities!
Invitation to Read
A note on home libraries! We like to display books on shelves like this, with the covers facing out. This visually invites children to select books and they are easily accessible. This doesn’t leave quite enough room for our many many books, so we cycle them out by selecting the books that are relevant to the season or holiday. (we do the same with toys) We also love to visit our local library! These gifts and experiences don’t have to cost you anything!
Have fun, friends! And Happy Spring!