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Spring Themes and Units for Preschool, Pre K, and Kindergarten: Lesson Plans, Activities, and Crafts

Updated on March 14, 2017
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Rose is a full-time freelance writer who frequently writes about education, special education, DIY projects, food, Milwaukee, and more.

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This year mix up your preschool or kindergarten curriculum with new spring themes and units. Many teachers find that it is helpful to develop a rotation of themes and units that they can use throughout a season or that they can switch up from year to year. Keep in mind that a good unit can carry across the entire academic spectrum; it should not be limited to a single subject. As you get comfortable integrating topics across academic areas, the ideas will start flowing and before you know it, you'll have more material than you'll ever need. Happy spring!

Spring Unit Ideas
Rain / April Showers...
Gardening
Butterflies
Caterpillars
Birds
Kites
Lion and the Lamb

Spring Themes and Units Can Be Used in the Following Academic Areas

 
Subjects
 
Reading
Writing
Math
Science
Social Studies
Art
 
Music
 

Rain / April Showers Bring May Flowers

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  • The rhyme. Learn the history behind this popular saying.
  • Why do flowers need water? Discuss the basics of the growth cycle for plants, the water cycle, and the importance of rain and watering flowers.
  • Observe flowers in action. "April showers bring May flowers" can be a great component of a gardening unit. Keep reading for lots of gardening unit resources.
  • Make umbrella or boot planters. There are a lot of fun planter ideas out with this theme that use old umbrellas and boots as planters. Some people also opt to use paper to construct pretend planters for pretend flowers. Are you planning an "April showers bring May flowers party?" You'll find many other party ideas that fit this theme as well.

Gardening

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  • Plant a garden. Whether you have space for a large outdoor garden on school grounds or just a few potted plants in the classroom, there is no experience that can match gardening like the real thing. Consider both flowers and vegetables for your garden.
  • The five senses. There are many ways that you can incorporate the five senses into any preschool or kindergarten unit, but some topics lend themselves to it more naturally than others. Gardening is a perfect place to start.
  • Real flowers vs. pretend flowers. Discuss the merits of real flowers vs. pretend flowers and explore varieties of both types of flowers. Pretend flowers can include flowers made out of paper, fabric, Play-Doh, and much more. Allow your students to be creative with the materials that they use for their pretend flowers.
  • Take a field trip. There are lots of places that you can observe gardens in action including local community gardens and farms. Do you have a parent that has a large garden? Maybe that parent would be willing to give a small tour.

Gardening With Kids

Caterpillars / Butterflies

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Caterpillars / Butterflies

  • Read The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. This is one of the most popular kid books about caterpillars, and there are tons of lesson plan resources for it online with activities for math, reading, writing, and science.
  • Learn about the caterpillar to butterfly life cycle. If possible, obtain caterpillars for your classroom and document the entire process as it unfolds before your eyes. Practice sequencing the life cycle throughout the experience.
  • Check for local butterfly exhibits. There are a number of zoos and museums that feature permanent butterfly exhibits, such as The Milwaukee Public Museum's Puelicher Butterfly Vivarium, as well as traveling exhibits.
  • Learn about local varieties of butterflies. Do you live in an area where you frequently observe butterflies in their natural environment? Spend time studying the local varieties as well as more exotic types of butterflies.

Butterfly Gardening with Kids

Birds

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  • Make bird feeders. There are numerous, inexpensive options for homemade bird feeders. Create feeders that you can hang outside on the school grounds and/or that students can bring home for their own yards. Have students share their experiences with the feeders at home.
  • Go on a bird scavenger hunt. Find or put together a list of local birds and take several outings throughout your unit to track down the birds on the list. Consider documenting your findings with drawings or photographs. Take it one step further and identify the bird sounds as well.
  • Take a trip to a local bird sanctuary or a zoo with a bird feature. If possible, arrange for a talk or demonstration with a staff member. Afterward on location or back at draw pictures and write sentences or stories about your experience and what you learned.
  • Enjoy bird nest snacks. This is a perfect option in the spring when you can purchase miniature candy eggs. Check out the recipe below from The Curvy Carrot.

Tip: Do you have letter themed units in your classroom as well? Consider working one or more of the following into your bird unit:

  • B is for birds.
  • F is for feathers.
  • N is for nest.

Kites

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Don't forget that May 12 is Kite Day!

  • Rhyming word kite. Kites are a wonderful shape for all sorts of different literacy activities. This post from The Kinder Garden has a great idea for using a kite to display rhyming words. You can modify this idea for lots of other concepts as well.
  • Make indoor kites. It is wonderful to make outdoor kites for a kite unit, but you can consider making indoor kites, too. Check out this fun idea from Kreative Resources for making indoor kites out of paper, paper clips, string, small clay pots, beads, scissors, glue, and magnets.
  • Read Days with Frog and Toad. You can also listen to the entire story online! Check out the link below. Frog and Toad have a kite flying adventure in this book. There are more suggestions for kids books about kites on the right as well.
  • Learn the song Let's Go Fly a Kite. Watch a clip of it in the movie Mary Poppins, too.
  • Attend a local kite festival. Check websites and local listings for information about kite festivals in your areas. There are just a few suggestions below. There are numerous other options throughout the United States as well. If you can't find a festival that takes place in the spring, put it on the calendar for the summer instead.

Great Kite Books for Kids

  • Days with Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel
  • Kite Flying by Grace Lin
  • Spot's Windy Day and Other Stories by Eric Hill
  • Curious George and the Kite by H.A. Rey
  • The Berenstain Bears: We Like Kites by Stan Berenstain

A
Southern Oregon Kite Festival:
16024 Boat Basin Road, Harbor, OR 97415, USA

get directions

http://www.southernoregonkitefestival.com

B
Great Lakes Kite Festival:
1001 South Harbor Drive, Grand Haven, MI 49417, USA

get directions

http://www.mackite.com/glskc.htm

C
Zilker Kite Festival:
2100 Barton Springs Road, Austin, TX 78746, USA

get directions

http://www.zilkerkitefestival.com

In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb

In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb--1st Grade Performance

In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb

  • Lion and lamb masks. You can use these masks to act out weather stories, sing songs, play pretend, and much more.
  • Other lion and lamb crafts. Instead of masks, switch it up and make paper bag or fabric lion and lamb puppets.
  • Lion and lamb snacks. Decorate cookies, cupcakes, bagels, and much more with lion and lamb faces. Students will enjoy adding the details for each animal, such as lion manes.
  • March weather with lions and lambs. For each day in March, have the students decide if the weather is more like a lion or a lamb. Put up an appropriate symbol on the calendar for the weather. What type of weather do you expect on lion days vs. lamb days? You can also create lion and lamb weather bar graphs and line graphs with your data.

As you track the weather in March, read the thermometer every day and record the temperatures. Discuss the temperature trends over time. How do they relate to the lions and lambs on the calendar?

  • Sentences, stories, and poems and weather pictures for the lion and the lamb. Once students have a solid understanding of the lion vs. the lamb concept and the weather that is associated with each animal, have them write or dictate sentences, stories, or poems about the topic and then draw pictures to go with the writing.

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    • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose Clearfield 

      4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      I agree! Thanks, Vicki! :)

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 

      4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      How fun! Ya can't beat flowers and caterpillars! Neat hub!

    • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose Clearfield 

      5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks, Cyndi! Yes, for sure. :)

    • cclitgirl profile image

      Cynthia Calhoun 

      5 years ago from Western NC

      What fun ideas! The garden stuff is my favorite - it's so fun to take a class of kids outside and get all dirty in the mud. Hehe. Thanks for compiling all these wonderful ideas. :)

    • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose Clearfield 

      5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      What a neat endeavor! Thanks for sharing your experiences, Natasha. :)

    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 

      5 years ago from Hawaii

      Last spring I did some pbservstions at a school with a small greenhouse. The kids raised the money for it and built it themselves the previous year. The elementary kids got to plant the garden and the day I was there they were transplanting seedlings. The kids loved it! I know a lot of schools have had success with gardens recently and it teaches kids so much under the guise of nothing but fun.

    • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose Clearfield 

      5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks, Sheri! That means a lot to me.

    • Sheri Faye profile image

      Sheri Dusseault 

      5 years ago from Chemainus. BC, Canada

      This makes me wish I was a teacher. Great Hub!

    • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose Clearfield 

      5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      It's great to hear that, AMFredenburg! I have always dreamed of publishing a book. It hasn't been a priority as I've been launching my freelance career these past couple years, but it isn't something I've ruled out either.

    • AMFredenburg profile image

      Aldene Fredenburg 

      5 years ago from Southwestern New Hampshire

      I'm not surprised. I was the editor for Crystal Springs Books, and your material holds up, trust me.

    • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose Clearfield 

      5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      At this point in my life, I'm not interested in writing a book. It may be an option that I explore in the future, but if I do, I'll most likely self-publish. Thank you for the thought, though! You're not the first person who has suggested that idea to me.

    • AMFredenburg profile image

      Aldene Fredenburg 

      5 years ago from Southwestern New Hampshire

      Randomcreative, have you ever thought about putting your lesson plan ideas into a book? Years ago I worked for a company, Crystal Springs Books, that would publish info (http://www.crystalspringsbooks.com/); an even better option might be to contact Scholastic; it publishes lots of books for teachers with ideas like these.

    • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose Clearfield 

      5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      pstraubie48, yes, for sure about spring! It's amazing how many opportunities you can find to take field trips on school grounds. Getting to record something about those experiences makes them that much more meaningful.

      Jackie, you're absolutely right that when learning is fun, it makes all the different for what a child gets out of an experience.

      Thanks so much, Purl! That's great.

      AMFredenburg, it's so great to hear that! Thank you. I appreciate the share as well.

      Thanks so much, Green Art! I hope that your grandson and his friends enjoy these ideas. There are so many materials that you can incorporate into all of these themes.

    • Green Art profile image

      Green Art 

      5 years ago

      I just love your hubs! So many great ideas here to share with my grandson and his friends. I totally agree with using a wide variety of materials including music, books and art to teach something new. I will be bookmarking this hub for sure. Voted up and useful!

    • AMFredenburg profile image

      Aldene Fredenburg 

      5 years ago from Southwestern New Hampshire

      And shared. :)

    • AMFredenburg profile image

      Aldene Fredenburg 

      5 years ago from Southwestern New Hampshire

      A wealth of info; this is amazingly complex and detailed. Any teacher, but particularly new teachers, would find this a valuable resource. Voted up; tweeting and pinning.

    • purl3agony profile image

      Donna Herron 

      5 years ago from USA

      Wonderful ideas to celebrate and explore spring themes! I love hands-on projects for children. Thanks for sharing!! Voted up!

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      5 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Great ideas to make learning (and teaching) fun. I think that has everything to do with the interest a child will take and making it fun rules out any idea it is a chore. We go on learning our whole life the things that look interesting to us...and fun! ^

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      5 years ago from sunny Florida

      Awesome, Rose,

      Spring offers so many ways to breathe new life into the classroom. And the kids love, love, all things science.

      We used to go on field trips around the campus and sketch something we found..new flowers, new leaves, new grasses, new insects..the whole nine yards. It was some of our best time.

      Thank you for an excellent sharing.

      Voted up +++++ Angels are on the way :) ps

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