A new season brings interesting changes to the natural world. Spring in particular is an exciting time, where everything is starting to wake up from its winter sleep. Encourage children’s love for nature by helping them learn about spring and how to spot the changes around us.
Facts about Spring:
- Spring starts around the 19th – 21st March, this is called the Spring equinox (20th March 2023).
- Spring ends around the 20th – 22nd June, known as the Summer solstice (21st June 2023).
- The Earth’s axis is beginning to tilt towards the sun.
- The temperature increases (April in the UK is on average 11ºc).
- The days become longer, meaning there’s more daylight.
We’ve designed a Spring activity pack that includes a game for spotting the signs of spring, colour ins, kid’s gardening tips and a frog life cycle activity and wall chart. To get your pack just pop your email in here and we’ll send it right to you.
If you’re already subscribed but missed the pack, send an email to [email protected] and we’ll make sure you get yours.
What happens to trees in spring?
In Winter trees store the sugary liquid, sap, in their roots and take water from the air. During this time we say that trees are dormant or asleep. As the temperature rises, the sap starts to make its way up from the roots to the branches of the tree. The sap carries nutrients all around the tree and helps the growth of new buds, shoots, leaves and blossom.
Can you spot any new buds? Ash, Beech, Oak and Rowan are all trees that grow buds.
What trees have new leaves already? The Silver birch and Field Maple trees normally start to show off their leaves in early spring.
Can you find trees full of blossom? Crab apple and Cherry trees are quick to bloom in March to April.
What plants grow in spring?
Many plants and wild flowers will start to pop up. In March yellow daffodils burst into life, followed quickly by tulips and wild garlic. These flowers come from bulbs that have been in the ground waiting for spring.
Other flowers to look out for in spring are wood anemone, daisies, buttercups, dandelion and bluebells. Woodlands are the best place to spot many of these.
Spring is a great time to start growing your own plants and flowers. In our Spring activity pack you can find a children’s guide to planting.
What comes out of hibernation in the spring?
Dormice, hedgehogs and other small animals have been hibernating through the winter. This is when they hide away and shut themselves down, doing very little for months, to help them survive the cold. Now that its warmer they come out of hibernation, looking for food and enjoying the outdoors again.
Many insects will also be coming out of hibernation. Butterflies and bees will emerge from hibernation thirsty and in need of food. Ladybirds and other beetles will be more active, looking for aphids to eat and places to lay eggs.
Spring babies in the UK
Many animals give birth in the spring. This is because the weather is a little warmer and there’s more food for mothers and their babies.
In spring the UK welcomes back lots of birds from their winter holidays. Birds like Swallows, Chiffchaffs and House Martins will be gathering twigs and finding cosy places to build their nests. Puffins will return to their seaside colonies to lay their eggs. When bird eggs are laid adult birds will sit on them to keep them warm. Depending on the size of the bird, eggs take anywhere between 10 days to 3 weeks to hatch.
Frog life cycle
Around March frogs lay and fertilise eggs, called frogspawn, in ponds. Small dark brown/green tadpoles hatch from the frogspawn, around 2-3 weeks after its laid. Tadpoles (like fish) breath through small slits called gills and swim using their body and tail. They feed on the jelly-like substance around them. After 2-3 months a tadpole will start to grow into a froglet. Legs will grow, its tail will shrink, skin forms over its gills and they begin feeding on bigger vegetation and insects in the pond. When the froglet is formed its able to breath air and walk on land.
Can you spot any frogspawn or tadpoles? Use a magnifying glass to get a closer look at their shape, do they have legs yet?
Farm animals in spring
On farms its typical for cows to give birth to their calves and sheep to have their lambs in spring. Lots of green grass means the mothers have plenty of fresh food to eat, helping them make milk to feed their babies.
Have fun spotting all the signs that spring has sprung!