March 20, 2010

"Landscape of the Vernal Equinox" by Paul Nash

Vernal Equinox – Northern Hemisphere
and therefore
Autumnal Equinox – Southern Hemisphere

It's the first day of spring for most of us!

The word equinox means, of course, that the day and night are equal length. From now un
til the middle of June, the days will be getting longer and longer!

Everything is reversed for people who live in the Southern Hemisphere: it's the first day of fall “down there,” and the days will get shorter and shorter until mid-June.

However, people in the Southern Hemisphere, too, have a day and night that are equal in length on this date.

I'm sure you know why we have seasons like summer and winter, right? (The short answer is because the Earth is tilted on its axis.) Go here if you need a refresher.
Do Spring Things!
  • Start a mini-garden to welcome spring. Put the tops of carrots, beets, parsnips and turnips in shallow jar lids. Use from one quarter to one half inch of vegetable. If there is any greenery, pull (don't cut!) it off. Add a bit of water, which you will need to change or add to daily. Keep your mini-garden in a warm, sunny place, and watch your vegetable tops sprout!
  • You can also sprout an avocado seed or a sweet potato. Find all the specifics here and here.

  • Make fresh spring art. Use a paint- brush to spread a thin coat of water onto heavy drawing or watercolor paper. Then load your brush with lots of yellow watercolor paint and dab a few spots onto the wet paper, allowing them to spread. Dab some spots of orange, pink, red, blue, and bright spring green as well.
Be careful that you do not use blue and green close to orange and red, since the colors may blend to make brown. You can control some of spreading and any unwanted blending by dabbing some of the water or paint with a wadded up dry paper towel. Let the painted paper dry completely. Then use a black thin or ultra-thin Sharpie pen to outline flower petals, centers, stems, and leaves, utilizing the free-form shapes created by the watercolor paints.
  • Here's another watercolor activity. This time, make 3-D flowers using coffee filters!
  • Do some Hink Pinks for spring. Figure out two 1-syllable words that rhyme with spring and match the definitions below:
1. the crown jewels _____________ _____________

2. slight pain from a kite's line _____________ _____________

3. a bird doctor's tool _____________ _____________

4.shorten the chains of playground equipment _____________ _______

ANSWERS: 1.king bling 2.string sting 3.wing sling 4.swing fling (or fling swing)

Spring Peepers

Some websites proclaim today to be World Frog Day. However, there doesn't seem to be much happening with this “international holiday.” Still, I thought I would mention it because it gives us all plenty of time to prepare for the second annual Save the Frogs Day, April 30, 20

"Frogs in a Pond"
by Seitei Watanabe

You have probably heard that frogs and other amphibians are threatened species all over the world. Check out the "Save the Frogs" website for ways to donate to or get involved with efforts to save these ama
zing (and potentially useful) creatures. Maybe there will even be a Save the Frogs event near you. Start planning now...

(And if you are wondering, who cares? Why frogs? –
then read this.)

More Sprin
g Fun

Try these spring-themed slider puzzles. Start with the easy ones!

How about a game of Concentration?

Make origami tulips.

Do a spring jigsaw puzzle. This one is easier than this one.

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