I would like to remind the readers about special holidays that children and families can celebrate. This coming Sunday, March 17, we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Remember to wear green so you don’t get pinched!
I can remember as a child sitting in beautiful spring clover with the white flowers looking for a four-leaf clover. We all love to see children playing in the white flower clover as they make and share clover necklaces and bracelets.
In Ireland, the Irish honor St. Patrick with both a holy day and a national holiday. The Irish cherish their beautiful green country-side and remind themselves of the beauty of their country by wearing green. Although it began in Ireland, St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated in countries around the world with parades and other festive traditions. Key symbols that stimulate a lot of early childhood fun and curiosity are rainbows, four-leaf clovers, shamrocks and leprechauns. A St. Patrick’s Day tradition, St. Patrick used the shamrock’s three leaves to explain the Holy Trinity: the Father (God), the Son (Jesus) and the Holy Spirit.
Schools are enjoying spring breaks and the weather and beautiful flowers are being seen everywhere. I think we can all agree that we are leaving winter behind as I catch preschool bulletin boards with cute little bunnies with their bundled up cottonball tails facing the blue sky and clouds on the board with the appropriate title “Leaving Winter Behind.” Spring officially begins Tuesday, March 19.
March brings in that good old spring fever of things coming up new. Also, this is the time to plant seeds for spring flowers and grass. April showers do bring May flowers, but the seeds have to be planted first in March. What better time to ask your little one to be your gardening buddy during these beautiful spring days?
Children can learn so very much about our beautiful world when you include them in a lesson. In a few weeks, they will be able to see the results of their digging and planting efforts. So let’s get ready to not only nurture our yards and gardens, but also to nurture our children with time well spent.
A simple explanation of photosynthesis — explaining that it takes soil, sun, water and seeds for plants to grow — can be done before planting. You can draw this on a piece of paper or poster so children can visualize what is going to happen after they plant their seeds.
As a classroom teacher, I have always loved to plant rye grass because it comes up so quick and is such a beautiful green. With Easter right around the corner, this is such a fun neat craft to do with your children: Use a Styrofoam cup. Put pink construction paper ears on the back of the cup or milk carton. You can add wiggly eyes, draw a nose, mouth, whiskers, to the front to make a grassy head rabbit. Children love this seasonal favorite year after year as they water, sun and watch their plant rabbits hop to life with Easter.
In showing children how seeds germinate and grow, try to pick up some large butter bean seeds. Use a small Ziploc bag, wet paper towel and tape. Tape the seeds inside the bag and put the wet paper towel to the back of the taped seeds. Tape the bag up on a window where the sun shines in.
Over a two week period observe how the sprouts begin to grow. Have your child record his/her observations by drawing what they see. By this experiment children are able to see a root grow which pushes the leaf up to the top. Your young scientists will be totally fascinated by this experiment.
“Planting a Rainbow” by Lois Ehlert for ages two to six is a colorful book you will want to check out at the library or buy at a local bookstore. This book is like a guide, with child-appropriate pictures on the whole planting process: buying seeds, arranging a garden, seeing a garden grow and learning different flowers by their colors. Going to the store to buy the seeds can be a learning experience. You and your child can look and choose seeds appropriate for our region of the country. Go to a dollar store to pick up an inexpensive plastic shovel, bucket and water pail. If an indoor garden is chosen by you and your child, a bag of soil will need to be picked up.
Visiting a garden center or nursery to identify different flowers as well as touching, smelling and identifying different flowers is a wonderful family field trip.
You and your child choose the kind of garden you want to plant. It may be out in the yard, in small pots or an indoor garden. Read carefully the directions on the seed packets to know how deep each seed must be planted. The seed packets will tell you when and where to plant and how much sunshine and water are needed. Children can learn about measuring when planting seeds.
In planting your seeds, take time with your child to also teach them about the seeds they can plant in their little hearts — the seed of kindness, the seed of helping others, the seed of self-control, the seed of patience and the seed of love will help them to grow to be a beautiful flower of a person.
I hope all community families have a good spring season as you spend precious time with your children.

Beth Pinyerd has taught many years in the early childhood classroom. She has a master’s degree in early childhood education.