I wanted to share a Hug of Hope for our young children and their families right before Easter. During this week of celebration right before Easter, hope and faith come to our spirits. “What was it like around the tomb of our Savior as the world waited on what had been spoken?” Faith is mankind’s hope as the Son of God walked out of the tomb in total victory over death. Why faith at Easter? Why faith now? Hebrews 11:1 says we are encouraged that faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hope is synonymous with Easter as we look at 1 Peter 1:3:  “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. In His great mercy, He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the  dead.”

During Holy Week before Easter, we can be a reflection of God’s Love as we pray for our citizens, outreach to our neighbors in need by giving them a call, a word of encouragement, or just letting them know that you are thinking about them. I love the way our community provides Easter Egg Hunts, special church services and community activities for families. Our community is very child friendly in caring for young children and their feelings. I can still remember the Easter Egg Hunts in our park. There were different rewards for finding the most eggs or for whoever found the golden egg. As a child, I always had a hard time finding any eggs. Usually I ended up with no eggs because I wasn’t assertive enough. One year I can remember receiving a chocolate bunny award for finding no eggs. I was only 7 years old and this 69-year-old Classroom Observer still remembers how happy it made me to get an award. That is why I say our community appreciates each and every child. It is a wonderful area to raise children.

 As April has come in we really understand that April showers truly bring may flowers. In April, when winter slowly starts to dwindle, we love to go outside as families to enjoy recreation, relaxation and picnics. During the spring, it is so pleasant to be outside and teach your children about how to watch the weather. What is weather? Explain to children that weather is the condition of the air around us. But we cannot see air. Guide your child in understanding that air is felt when the wind blows, fan your child in order for them to understand the concept of air. Blow a balloon up to show that air takes up space. Explain to your child that air is all around us even though we don’t see it.

Explain to your child that the sun is responsible for heating up air or atmosphere which causes water to evaporate into the air and the air rises. The way I explain evaporation to young children is to use a sponge and draw a wet stripe on the board. It slowly disappears, then I ask my young students where does the wet spot go? Then we discuss what they have observed as evaporation. This can be done at home by putting around ¼ cup of water outside for several days till you and your child observe that it has evaporated into the atmosphere.

One observation that fascinates the young scientist’s eye is the formation of clouds. Guide your child’s eye to identify three different kinds of clouds. Cirrus clouds are feathery clouds that look like they have a curl. I tell young children they look like pulled cotton candy. Usually cirrus clouds are associated with fair weather. Cumulus clouds are heaping clouds. They look like pillows you can jump on. It’s neat to point out to your child these clouds building up for a summer afternoon shower. Stratus clouds look like layers or blankets. Stratus clouds produce rain and drizzle. Too, children love to use their imaginations in making different shapes out of clouds. Fog is something your child can observe draping over outside early in the morning.

Other weather events your child can learn about are thunderstorms and lightning in which the safety rules of not being outside, in a swimming pool or under a tree where lightning can strike should be stressed for your child’s safety.

Waterspouts which so many times can be observed during a storm over bodies of water draws up large columns of water. It’s a tornado over water.

One doesn’t want to really observe tornadoes. Tornadoes are the most destructive natural phenomena. Winds can get up to a high speed. At times, small tornadoes can be observed from a safe distance. Being on the coast, these communities are always on the watch for hurricanes.

Dust devils are small tornadoes over land areas. A dust devil draws up dust, leaves and debris. In being near one of these, make sure dust or sand doesn’t get in your child’s eyes.

The most beautiful sight to observe on a spring afternoon is an arching rainbow. Explain to your young children that rainbows are caused by sunlight penetrating raindrops and is broken into the beautiful bands of color of violet, indigo, red, orange, yellow, green. The neatest sight that I have observed as a teacher is to see little ones try to chase a rainbow outside. So many times if a rainbow is low lying, a child can run into the prism of beautiful colors.

Some simple tools that children can use to measure and observe weather are thermometers to measure temperature and rain gauges to measure rainfall. Thermometers are inexpensive and your child can read how hot or cold it is. For a rain gauge, take a bucket and a ruler to measure the amount of rain. One fun family activity is to watch a local or national weather station. You would be so surprised at how much your young meteorologist can really understand about forecasts and weather events on a map. So many times, beginning in spring, but especially during the summer when it is so very hot, a young child may asks why the air feels wet. Explain to them that the “wetness” in the high is called humidity. It’s not too big of a word for your little meteorologist to put in his weather vocabulary.

I hope this article will help you begin to be happy weather watchers during these spring months which can extend into summer. It is a fun, learning experience that you and your child can enjoy together.

Happy Easter and Happy Weather Watching.

Beth Pinyerd

Classroom Observer