Teaching kids about the four seasons can be a fun, hands on lesson plan. It's easy to have the kids look outside to tell you what the weather is right now, but it's another skill set to ask them what the weather will be like in three months, six months, or ever nine months from now. Teaching the seasons all at the same time and helping them understand the calendar as well as the weather associated with different seasons can help them with their predictive skills when asking them what they think the weather will be like several months from now. The activities listed here will help kids learn what the four seasons are, the weather associated with those seasons, and which months occur during each season.
The wheel of the year.
Take a large piece of paper and draw a large circle on the paper, with a two to three foot diameter. Section the circle off into four equal segments. Write the seasons, in order; one in each segment. Next, write the months around the edge of the circle, making sure each one is located next to the corresponding season.
Have the kids pick a season and ask them what types of things they associate with that season. For spring they might say flowers, grass, rainbows. Winter might elicit the response of snowmen, snow, snow angels. Summer could be beaches, sand, water, sunshine, and fall usually gets trees, leaves, pumpkins and apples. Keep the conversation going if you can and keep asking them questions about why they associate those things with each season.
Next, have the kids draw pictures in each segment of the circle that associates with the season written in it. They can just use crayons, or you can have the use chalk, markers, colored pencils or paint. While they are working, ask them to tell you about what they are drawing. Ask about the colors, the shapes and maybe ask them to tell you a story about their pictures.
Using a calendar.
Display the wheel of the year on a wall or bulletin board and talk about it daily, weekly or however you have your curriculum set up. At some point, pull out a calendar and talk about all of the months of the year. Talk about the order they come in and use the wheel to point out which seasons they fall under. Show the kids how on the calendar, it ends after December, but on the wheel it goes from December to January. Let them ask questions or give their ideas on why it works that way. Address or research the answer to any questions they have about the subject.
Build a year round scrapbook.
If you don't want to keep the big wheel of the year picture up year round, make a smaller version of it and keep it in a binder for the kids to reference once a week. Create dividers for each season, and dividers to go within each season of each month. Take time each month to go outside and take pictures of things the kids think represent each season or month. For those in the Omaha area go to fun, iconic places each month such as Standing Bear Lake, Lake Zorinsky, or Gene Leahy Mall. Get pictures of the same scene each time. Print them off and include them in the binder. At the end of the year go back through and see how the pictures changed each month. This is a great way to get the kids out in nature to make observations and it becomes a natural observation case study of the seasons that they have documented. In the scrapbook, let the kids write down different ideas they had about each picture, or write it down for them if they don't write yet. This also helps teach the importance of journaling and writing down scientific observations.