March is notorious for its fickle weather. From cold, blustery winds to warm, gentle breezes, the third month of the year has its share of yo-yo days. An old weather proverb says, “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.” The March winds may be blowing as winter makes its exit during the month, but we can relish in the fact that spring is not far behind. To mark the change of seasons, your group can enjoy a few activities related to the weather. Here are suggestions to say good-bye to the cold winter and hello to the warm spring!
- Discussion - Share copies of The Old Farmer’s Almanac with your group. Look at the weather forecasts for March and April. Ask: Did your grandparents and parents consult the almanac for weather predictions? How accurate are the forecasts? Did you ever use the almanac for gardening? What kinds of old wives’ tales about the weather did you hear growing up? Explain what the thickness of the woolly bear caterpillar’s coat has to do with the weather.
- Discussion - Read and discuss the poems “March” by William Cullen Bryant and “The Wind of March” by John Greenleaf Whittier. Compare how the poets feel about the month of March and the changing of the seasons.
- Discussion - Show pictures of old weather vanes on barns and farmhouses. Share the history of wind vanes and talk about favorite designs, like the racing horse or rooster. Explain why weather vanes are useful to farmers, fisherman, sailors, gardeners, and firefighters.
- Discussion - Ask if participants agree or disagree with the following quotation by Oscar Wilde: “Conversation about the weather is the last refuge of the unimaginative.” Ask the group to name some good conversation starters that are more imaginative than the weather.
- Activity - Display props such as a thermometer, barometer, and rain gauge. Assign participants the role of old-fashioned weather observers. Discuss the meaning of the proverb “in like a lion, out like a lamb.” Record weather conditions throughout the month – for lion-like or lamb-like weather. Write weather headlines for March 1 and March 31. Ask if the proverb held true for the month.
- Activity - Invite a local speaker to talk about wind farms and wind energy. Describe weather events with wind (ex: tornado, hurricane, cyclone). Name things that move in the wind (ex: kite, garden spinner, windmill, pinwheel, mobile, balloon). Hang wind chimes and listen to the soothing melodies created by the chimes. Craft a seasonal wind sock to hang indoors. (Use a fan to create a gentle breeze.) Discuss the meaning of idioms such as get a second wind, get wind of, run like the wind, and take the wind out of the sails.
- Gardening - Paint clay pots a vibrant spring color. Add floral ribbons around the pots. Sow grass seed in the clay pots to be used as Easter centerpieces. During Easter week, place a colored egg in the green grass. (Caution: Do not let anyone taste or eat the seeds.)
- Gardening – Honor March birthday celebrants with a bouquet of daffodils, the flower of the month. Show a photo of a field of blooming daffodils. Read William Wordsworth’s poem “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” (also known as “Daffodils”). The poet shares a happy memory of seeing “a host of golden daffodils” by a lake. Talk about the appeal of flowers blossoming in the spring. Ask if anyone ever planted a field of flowers.
- Gardening - Clip budded pussy willow branches and force them to bloom indoors in a vase of water. Display the silhouette of an old bare willow tree on a bulletin board or door. Add tissue paper fuzzy “buds” to the branches.
- Reminisce - Reminisce about Grandmother’s spring cleaning ritual – with open doors and windows. Show photos of 1940s/1950s kitchens, living rooms, and baths. Ask participants what supplies would be needed to clean the rooms. Sing old cleaning product jingles – Ajax, Borax, Comet. Describe how to tackle each room, using some of the following words: air out, sun dry, whack, deodorize, dust, wash, wax, shine, scrub, or polish.
- Reminisce - Invite local photographers to display photos of the early signs of spring (ex: robin on snow-covered tree branch, newborn lambs and calves in farm field, green buds on trees, crocuses erupting from the cold ground). Listen to the song “It Might as Well Be Spring.” Ask: What is spring fever? Have you ever had a case of it? How does it feel? What are your favorite signs of spring?
- Reminisce - Reminisce about an early spring ritual in the Northeast: tapping the sap from sugar maple trees for syrup. Show a video of the process, if available. Pass around photos of sugar shacks. Enjoy pancakes and waffles with maple syrup.
- Intergenerational - Craft paper kites and hang from ceiling. Display various types of kites and learn about kite safety and the best way to fly a kite on a windy day. Sing along with the song, “Let’s Go Fly a Kite,” from Mary Poppins. Read children’s kite story books. Write an acrostic poem, using the word KITE. Enjoy a kite-shaped cake. (See the Spring Kites craft in the ElderSong resource Crafts Through the Year for a simple paper kite pattern.) Alternate: Celebrate the birthday of children’s author Theodor S. Geisel on March 2 with a Dr. Seuss Party.
“MARCH: LION AND LAMB DAYS” written by Sue Hansen. © 2012 ElderSong Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.
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