“Spring is coming, spring is coming
birdies fill the air
weave together straw and feather
each one doing their share”
This time of year always reminds of the song Spring is Coming* (Charles L. Minturn, 1914) from my daughter’s preschool days. With the first signs of spring starting to show, it’s the perfect time to go on a five senses backyard adventure! This type of activity can help us achieve a greater sense of peacefulness, hope, and gratitude.
Winter can be a tough time of year for a lot of people. With Spring, we start to see signs of warmer weather and longer days as we emerge out of the darker, colder days of winter. Spring in Colorado is tricky, though. One day we have a snowstorm and the next day it is 60 degrees! This activity can help carry you through those last storms of Spring.
Gather your powers of observation for this one! While you explore you will notice five signs of spring that you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one you can taste.
This activity can be as short or as long as you like it. It’s perfect to do by yourself, with your family, or your friends! The beauty of it is that you can do it anytime and anywhere. It helps to keep us grounded and keep our emotions regulated.
“Spring is coming, spring is coming,
Flowers are coming too.
Daisies, lilies, daffo-dillies,
All are coming through”
Variations of the Five Senses Activity adapted for different age groups:
Toddlers and Preschoolers: With small children, this activity can easily become a game. Pretend you all are bear cubs coming out of your dens after a long winter hibernation. What do the little bears see, feel, hear, smell, and taste? Little bears tend to be very hungry, so be sure to have a snack!
School-age Children: It helps to have this age group take turns. They can each name something that they see, hear, etc. Or have them each find something in one of the five categories. For example, I see the gushing creek, I feel the new growth on the tree, I hear the birds, I smell the damp leaves on the ground, and when I stick my tongue out, I promise you I can taste the sunshine! Trust me, they will get very creative. Right when you think there’s nothing else to taste, look out! Before you know it they’ll be licking the trees!
Older Children and Teens. Sometimes teens can be a little more hesitant and critical of an activity like this. If you struggle to entice them, do not worry. Just do it yourself, out loud, and model the activity for them. Then re-invite them to give it a try and see if they will join you. It can be helpful to encourage older children to connect things more to their bodies in order to really help the grounding and regulating of this process. Get a little more explicit with some education around how to regulate feelings. For example, when they notice the sound of the birds, ask them how it makes them feel and to notice where they feel that in their body.
The purpose of this exercise is to become more intimately involved with your surroundings whether you are in your yard, taking a walk around the city block, walking on a paved bike path, or hiking in the mountains. Finally, notice how you feel at the end of the activity. Notice where you feel that feeling in your body. Because it’s spring, we know there is another snowy day on the way, so hold on that feeling!
“Spring is coming, spring is coming,
All around is fair.
Shimmer, quiver, on the river,
Joy is everywhere”
Music is also a great regulator so be sure to check out the music and lyrics! Happy walking, happy sensing, and happy singing!
For music and song lyrics to Spring is Coming, click this link: