Spring is in the air and I am ready to bring out the fun science projects, read-alouds, and outdoor activities. This time of year has us wearing many hats and needing a variety of activities for our students. Our folders contain review activities to get us ready for the end of the year testing, quiet independent worksheets to be completed while others are finishing tests, and student-led projects for those times when we are packing up our classrooms or finalizing report cards. And not to mention the fun projects and games we all save for the end of the year. It just so happens that springtime brings about some of these great activities. Make sure you check out #20 on this list of spring activities for primary teachers.
*** All of the books mentioned in this list are linked to YouTube Read Alouds. Scroll to the bottom for Amazon Affiliate links if you would like to add any of them to your personal classroom library. 😉
Spring Activities for Primary Teachers – All About Plants
1 – Growing a Plant
One of my students’ favorite activities in our classroom is growing a plant in a Ziploc bag. It is such an easy science activity that is practically guaranteed to have results in a few short days. Give each student a sandwich or quart-size Ziploc bag, a paper towel, and a lima bean. Have your students wet their paper towels (not dripping wet, but moist enough to provide water to the bean). They then will place their moist paper towel and bean inside the bag. Don’t have them completely seal the bag, as air to the bean is important. Tape them in a window that receives sun and watch them begin to grow into plants within a few days.
2 – Plant Life Cycle
While they are watching their beans sprout, students can be completing a variety of activities surrounding the life cycle of a plant. They can cut and glue the different stages of a plant’s life cycle, discuss what plants need to grow, and write about what they are observing each day. There are so many opportunities to work on plant vocabulary and link this science project to writing.
3 – Read and Research About Plants
I’m huge on cross-curricular connections, so while we are working on plant life cycles in science and writing about plants during writing block, you can guarantee we are reading about plants in whole group and small groups during the reading block. In your fluency and comprehension center, you can have “plants” as the sight word. Students can practice one of three ways with this fluency passage and booklets resource. After reading the passage, then they can follow the comprehension steps to complete the picture.
4 – Parts of a Plant
After your bean plants have had an opportunity to grow, you can discuss the different parts of a plant and if your students can find them in their bean sprout project. For a fun way to check for understanding, give your students this simple 6-step Flower Directed Drawing. After they have drawn the image, they can label each part and write a sentence or two about those parts. The second page after the drawing will allow them to use specific vocabulary words and practice other writing, grammar, and phonics skills.
5 – Read and Draw Bugs
My students are obsessed with drawing channels on YouTube, but after they draw the picture… then what? As I mentioned in #4, take drawing a step further by using Directed Drawings in your classroom. Students get to have the fun of simple step-by-step drawings plus writing sentences, building vocabulary, and practicing essential grammar and phonics skills. Snag a few of the insect drawings with a free Premium membership, or download the entire set and a few others from our ETTC Shop. Pair any of these drawings with a read-aloud on insects.
- Are You a Grasshopper? by Judy Allen and a Grasshopper Drawing
- The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle and a Ladybug Drawing
- The Beeman by Laurie Krebs and a Bee Drawing
- The Very Impatient Caterpillar by Ross Burach and a Caterpillar or Butterfly Drawing
- Diary of a Spider by Doreen Cronin and a Spider Drawing
6 – Hatching Butterflies
This is by far a student favorite when it comes to science projects in the spring! You can order a butterfly hatching kit from Insect Lore that comes with everything you need. They send you the butterfly garden, baby caterpillars, a nectar feeder with sugar packets to make the nectar, and a STEM journal for students to record their thoughts and steps in the process. Pair this project with a few supplemental activities, such as the life cycle of a butterfly that your students will be able to view firsthand. Build some background knowledge by reading about butterfly life cycles as well.
7 – Take a Nature Walk
Combining insects and plant life, take your students on a nature walk around your school campus. Before you head outside, I recommend reading a book such as In the Tall, Tall Grass by Denise Fleming. This will give them an idea of all of the things there are outside that they can look for. They can either draw or write down what they see, hear, experience, or you can give them a Scavenger Hunt printable and discover how many of those items they can find.
8 – Write the Room
Maybe going outside isn’t an option for you, but you still want to give your students the opportunity to “find” insects and build vocabulary. Use a Write the Room Insect activity in one of your literacy centers. Before you start using the center, cut out and laminate the insect vocabulary cards and place them randomly around your classroom. Your students will be given a recording sheet at the center and can then go and look for the insect cards around the room. When they find one, they write the name of the insect next to the corresponding number on the card. As an extension, they can write sentences about their favorite insect on the back of the paper once they have found all of the cards.
9 – Insect Reports and Posters
As a culminating project for your insect unit, your students can research, write, and create insect reports. This is a great gallery walk activity that you could have in your classroom. Your students can choose an insect to research. These close reads passages and mini-books are a great resource to get your students started finding facts on their chosen insect. They can record their facts on a poster or piece of paper and then draw a picture of their insect. Once the class has finished their research projects, display them around the classroom and students can take a look at their classmates’ reports.
Spring Activities for Primary Teachers – Weather
10 – It Looked Like Spilt Milk Cloud Book
Read the story It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles G. Shaw with your students. Take your students outside and have them observe the clouds in the sky. They will want to sketch a picture of one of the clouds they see. Once everyone has drawn a cloud, take them inside and they can write a few sentences about their cloud. As an extension, ask your students if they can classify which type of cloud it is. You can also hand out cotton balls and your students can use them to cover their sketches. Will they pull them into long wisps or keep them round and fluffy?
Hands-down one of my favorite classroom experiments, your students will be amazed when you create a cloud in a glass jar. Talk about mind-blowing! Follow the scientific method, setting up the experiment and discussing what your students think will happen when all of the ingredients are put together. After completing the experiment, extend your students learning by researching the water cycle and what happens in the atmosphere to make clouds form.
12 – Create a Rainbow
Similar to making a cloud in a jar, you can also create a rainbow with a few simple items. Grab a shallow dish or bowl, some water, a mirror, and a sunny window. You can follow the directions here and your class can make a rainbow in their very own classroom. Follow the lesson up with rainbow compound words, a rainbow color by code, or a directed drawing.
Print these pages to create a book that follows a circular motion, just like the water cycle. Your students will have fun creating a mini-book that doesn’t look like any others they have created before. To get your students thinking about what the different components are to the water cycle, watch this video with Dr. Binocs from Peekaboo Kids. Then follow-up the video with the circle book project.
The Ocean and the Beach
14 – Plastic Fork Pufferfish
Speaking of water, ocean animals are a huge hit with students. Creating a pufferfish with some paint and a plastic fork is a fun and easy project you can do with your students. Give each of your students a piece of cardstock or construction paper, along with a plastic fork. Let each student choose two different colors of paint for their pufferfish. They will then press the back of the fork into their paint and create a circle for the body of the fish. Once they’ve done that, have them create fins with their paint.
After the paint has dried, they can either draw a mouth and eyes with a black marker or cut some out of black construction paper. While they are working on their pufferfish, you can read Artie the Pufferfish by Diana Mulder, which teaches children to ask permission before hugging others.
15 – Paper Plate Ocean Animals
You can create so many different ocean animals out of paper plates. Grab some streamers or strips of paper and cut paper plates in half. Give each student a half of the plate, some strips of paper, and have them color or paint the plate. They’ve instantly made a jellyfish. You can also hand out smaller paper plates and hole punch four small holes along the bottom. Your students can slide pipe cleaners through each hole and bend them in half to create an octopus.
Going back to cutting the plates in half, you can create a seahorse. Use the paper plate as the seahorse’s belly, then add a tail and a head to complete. It’s a great project to work on while listening/watching Mister Seahorse by Eric Carle. Another class favorite is to give each student a paper plate and have them draw a design on the back. Or, they can cut out different shapes from construction paper and create a mosaic on the back of the plate. Then add four legs, a tail, and a head and they’ve created sea turtles.
Last but not least, give each student a plate and some gems (either the sticker kind or if you are brave, you can hand out glue bottles.) Your students can add the gems to the back of the plate, then add fins to create The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister.
16 – Virtual Aquarium Visit
Are you still unable to take field trips? No problem! You can still take your students to the “aquarium”. The Monterey Bay Aquarium has 9 different LIVE cams that your class can watch. You can view ocean birds, sea turtles, penguins, and even sharks. While your students are viewing the ocean animals, they can be drawing their favorite ocean animal and writing a short story about it.
17 – Trip to the Zoo
Speaking of taking virtual field trips, your students can also visit the zoo from their seats in class. The San Diego Zoo has 13 different webcams that you can click on and watch animals. Check out the elephants, tigers, hippos, polar bears, and many more in their zoo habitats. You can also find activities, stories, and games on the website that your students can do to extend their learning.
18 – Zoo Activities
We also have two different zoo activity bundles for students in grades K-3rd. If you teach the younger grades, grab our Zoo Activities bundle. Your students can match animal puzzles, create a zoo animal journal, where they can record what they observe on the webcams, and put together their own zoo animal mini-book to take home and read to their families.
If you teach upper grades, your students can research and learn about 24 different zoo animals with our Digital Zoo Animal Slides. Each animal has an informational passage with comprehension questions. Your students can read the passage themselves, or listen to the audio before answering the questions. These interactive slides are a great fluency and comprehension center.
Spring Activities for Primary Teachers – STEM and Story Challenges
19 – Umbrella Creations
April showers bring rain, rain, and more rain. It’s time to get out the umbrellas. Read the story The Big Umbrella by Amy June Bates. Have a discussion with your class about how the child in the story used their big umbrella on a rainy day. Given the materials, your students will create their own mini-umbrellas and then test them by using a watering can. Will their umbrella keep the paper towel underneath dry?
20 – Egg Baskets
Perfect for spring, your students can design an egg basket and test to see how many eggs it can hold. Read the story The Biggest Easter Basket Ever by Steven Kroll and then pass out the needed materials. Following the scientific process of designing, creating, testing, improving, and reflecting, your students will put together their egg basket and see whose holds the most eggs.
While you have the plastic eggs out, recreate Humpty Dumpty’s dramatic fall from the wall and see if you can keep him whole. Read After the Fall by Dan Santat, which takes us through Humpty Dumpty’s feelings after falling from the wall. He is afraid to get back up on the fall. Can your students create a safety net to catch him if he falls again? How high of a wall can you build and still be able to protect the egg?
Amazon Affiliate Links for Books mentioned in these activities if you want to snag them for your classroom.
- Are You a Grasshopper? by Judy Allen
- The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle
- The Beeman by Laurie Krebs
- The Very Impatient Caterpillar by Ross Burach
- Diary of a Spider by Doreen Cronin
- In the Tall, Tall Grass by Denise Fleming
- It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles G. Shaw
- Artie the Pufferfish by Diana Mulder
- Mister Seahorse by Eric Carle
- The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister
- The Big Umbrella by Amy June Bates
- The Biggest Easter Basket Ever by Steven Kroll
- After the Fall by Dan Santat
Keep your students entertained, engaged, and beat the spring fever with these 21 Spring Activities for Primary Teachers. Pull out those lesson plan books and start plugging them in today. Join Education to the Core Premium and download some of these activities right now without having to buy the entire bundle. Do you have a favorite springtime activity you do in your classroom each year? Please add them to the comments below so we can share even more ideas with each other.
Written by – Janessa Fletcher
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