Welcome to my Spring Series called “Bringing Spring into your Homeschool”. Today’s post is by Rachel about getting outdoors for activities and games involving nature. Check out her bio below and enjoy reading! Also make sure to check out other posts in this series and guest author bios by clicking on “Bringing Spring into your Homeschool” under Blog in the menu.
Discovering Baby Animals and Eggs, Outdoors Activities and Printable Games
Written by Rachel Margallian | April 30, 2018
Hi , I Am Rachel, I grew up in the French Alps, studied and taught music, traveled around a bit and taught in some schools and orphanages in Africa and Ukraine . I settled down in Italy in beautiful Tuscany, with my awesome Italian husband. We have 3 wonderful kids and I am homeschooling them, my boys are 9 and 8 and my girl is turning 5 soon. I want to give my kids a love for learning and a strong foundation in God’s word. One year ago I started a blog, “Je joue,tu joues, nous apprenons” (In English ” I play, you play , we learn”) to share with other moms educative material that I created for my kids, like readers, grammar and Math games and activities in French and English. My favorite teaching approach is games and stories. I also want to share my experiences with other moms in the hope that it can be an encouragement to them as well as to provide them with resources that can be a blessing. My guest post will be about trading the worksheets for Math games that you can play outside in the spring sunshine. these ideas of games can be adapted to different levels and topics as you follow your curriculum or planned lessons. online and on the show!
What better time than spring to go outside, explore nature and discover new things about insects, eggs and baby animals. My 4 year old girl absolutely LOVES animals, she can spend hours playing with her cuddles (she almost never plays with dolls), she invents stories, takes care of them, and loves story books about animals (her readers have to be about animals too!). You can check the ones I made for her with really cute pictures of her toys here : “Tisha and the Vowels Readers series”
After waiting for a long time for it, she got a puppy for her last birthday. She also rescues bees, feeds ants and makes little houses for snails or spiders (Good thing that there is no dangerous spiders in Italy!).
She was thrilled that for her “school time” these past days we decided to study animals, more specifically baby animals, animals that lay eggs, and animals that feed their babies milk.
I have some games that I created for my boys (I added a few things, printed them and laminated them), they are cute and colorful and I was sure it would be a nice surprise for her, but before pulling them out I wanted to take time for hands on activities and exploring outside .
I’m sure your little kids will love these printable games as much as my girl so I will share them with you for free at the end of the article.
But let’s not rush to get them. I would like these cute colorful games to be an invitation for you and your children to discover together some new exiting facts about spring and animals. It’s an invitation to play outside, to explore the garden, or to go for a walk in the forest or to the park or even to a farm.
So before the printing, cutting, gluing, and playing the games I invite you to take part in 3 activities with your kids. This is how we did each one, but you can adapt it as you want!
Activity Time #1
First we went outside with her big box of toy animals. After we got comfy in the grass we started sorting out the animals, putting aside all the ones that lay eggs, some she already knew, some I helped her, and some she was even surprised. We also sort them by families: insects, birds, and reptiles and so on.
Next we continued going through her animal box and learned about mammals . She was more than happy arranging nicely the mommies together with their babies.
We played pretend that the babies where nursing, and that she was feeding the moms grass or meat.
Later on we watched a few short documentaries or clips on You Tube about baby birds, chicks, turtles and baby crocodiles hatching.
Activity Time #2
The games for the next day also involved her toy animals. We played “who doesn’t belong?”
We would talk about why she thought they didn’t belong: “They don’t have feathers…” or “They don’t lay eggs” or “They have scales and not fur…”
Then her big brother came to help us classify all the animals, fun time!
The documentary of the day was about sea creatures, even mommy was surprised to learn how the giant octopus lays thousands of eggs and defends them with her life! But whales and their babies where the cutest !
Activity Time #3
The explorations of the week involved the boys of course , camera in hand we went around with the mission to find animals that lay eggs and take pictures of them, and do a little presentation or a lap book .
We went to see the chicken of the neighbor of course, then had some good laugh trying to take some pictures of birds and butterfly that kept flying away! We decided that chasing crawling insects would be easier, and it felt like finding treasures when we discovered ant eggs , and later on snail eggs.
Here is the snail!
The big price was lizard eggs in a crack of a little wall. We where careful to not touch them, but I think the cat or puppy might have already dig here though.
In the garage we also discovered tiny spiders that just hatched: there was hundreds of tiny, tiny 8 legged little creatures.
Now we are ready for reviewing what we discovered by playing the printable games!
Game #1: Who Lays Eggs ?
Print the 2 mats and the little eggs cards. Kids can cut out eggs and glue them in front of each animal that lays eggs. If you want you can laminate the game and put some velcro so the cards stay better so you can use it over and over again for a quiet activity.
Who Lays Eggs?
Download it for free by clicking on this picture
Game #2: Fur or Feathers?
Preparation and material needed:
- Print, cut and laminate if you’d like
- Gather feathers (collect them at a farm and disinfect them, buy in an art and craft shop, or get from old feather jacket)
- Gather soft or furry material (Like cotton, or artificial furry material taken from an old coat or old cuddly toy animal)
I’ve put velcro pieces on the animals on the mat and behind the feathers and soft pieces of material to use the game few times.
How to play: Glue or put a feather on the animals that have some and a piece of soft material on the animals that have fur.
Game #3: Caterpillar Life Cycle
Print, cut and laminate if you’d like. You can put velcro pieces on the cards and on the mat to use the game few times. Then have your child put the story in the right order.
Game #4: The Four Seasons
Print, cut and laminate if you’d like. You can put velcro pieces on the cards and on the mat to use the game few times. Then have your child put the seasons with the correct name. You can learn the seasons in french also!
Download the three games here :
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How do you get outdoors to enrich your homeschool? Share in the comments below!