A blizzard greeted us today, canceling school and giving us a fun if unseasonal day off. To thank Mother Nature properly (and perhaps to hint to her that winter can be over whenever she’s ready… because we’re ready), I’m going to look back to a warmer year – that of 2010 – and share some great activities we did that year to celebrate spring.
Celebrate National Poetry Month with a Poet-Tree
April is National Poetry Month, so grab a wall and some recycled materials, and create your very own Poet-Tree. We used the brown packing paper that comes in shipping boxes and our vast collection of colored paper fliers sent home over the years from the kids’ schools. We always saved those fliers, using the blank backsides for artwork. I sat down one night and cut a bunch of them up into large leaf shapes and placed them in a basket near the brown paper tree I had stapled up on the wall.
Over the month, we studied different forms of poetry and tried our hand at them. Limericks, haiku, sonnets – we wrote them all, one poem per leaf, and then we stuck them up on the tree. By the end of the month, we had quite a lot of verbal foliage. If you want to do this, be sure to check out Paul Janeczka’s Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms. You’ve got everything you’ll need right there to create a meaningful poetry study.
And I’m happy to announce the launch of my book review vlog series! My first three episodes, which will go live starting tomorrow, feature fabulous poetry books to help you connect even more with National Poetry Month. If you want a jump-start on everybody else, go on and be the first to subscribe to my brand-new YouTube channel, which has exactly Zero videos to greet you. Ah, but tomorrow will be a different story. Ian is even writing theme music for me. Ha! I’m going to have my own theme song! Everybody needs her own theme song, don’t you think?
Get to Know the Lowly Earthworm
Living up north, I’m always eager to get in the garden well before the ground is ready for me. In 2010, I dug out an old 10 gallon terrarium from the garage and ordered a cup-full of earthworms from Carolina Biological. While we waited for the worms to arrive, the kids and I read up on wormeries and began foraging for different types of soil. We chipped up some out of the frozen garden bed (and let it thaw), went down to the river to collect a bucket of sand, and tore up some papers out of the recycling bin. We layered everything over a base of gravel, which you’ll need to let the excess moisture have a place to go.
I also stitched up a black cloth that we could use to cover the glass sides of the terrarium when we weren’t looking at it – kind of like a terrarium sock if you will. This is important, because the worms will move away from the light, and if you don’t cover the tank, that means they will move away from the glass. When the worms arrived, we dumped them in, kept a spray bottle handy (you have to keep the dirt moist, or your worms will die) and watched over several weeks as the little guys did their thing and mixed the layers of soil together. We used this activity to launch a fabulous study of both earthworms and soil health. I still have the earthworm anatomy drawing the kids created, with all the parts labeled. I don’t know why, but I think I’ll always keep that. It hangs in my garden shed.
Once we felt we had learned all we wanted out of the tank experiment, we transferred our squirmy friends to a vermicomposter that we made out of a big plastic tub with holes we punched in the bottom. We kept it right in our foyer to greet any- and every-one who came to visit. With this setup, we were able to watch the worms not only mix soil, but create it! When we were all done, it was May, and we rewarded our hard-working worms with permanent residence in the garden.
Spring is so fun for us. We’re tired from our long, hard-working school year and ready for fun and celebration. Today that means hot chocolate and a blizzard. But tomorrow, who knows? In North Dakota, it could be 65 degree weather with sun. How do you celebrate spring in your neck of the woods? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!
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