The 2009 Spring Equinox is set to occur on March 20. If you don't know, the term equinox means a time when the sun is positioned directly above the equator. On a day of equniox, day and night are approximately equal in length, an event that only occurs twice a year, once in the Spring and once in the Fall. The day generally signifies a change in seasons to come, the Spring equinox usually sets the stage for warmer weather. The date of the Spring equinox is especially significant in the Christian religion because the celebration of Easter always falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Spring equinox, and also has important meaning in other world religions as well.
Children seem to learn best through hands on activities and through observing the world around them. Teaching children about the Spring equinox through the use of fun and engaging activities is likely to leave them with an understanding and appreciation for the day that they may not have had before.
Here are some great activities to help children to understand and reinforce what they already know about the Spring equinox.
1) THE AMAZING ART OF BALANCING AN EGG
The Spring equinox signifies a day where day and night is balanced and is thought by some to be the only day where it is possible to balance an egg on its rounded end so that it will stand up straight. In all actuality, this is possible on any day, but is a difficult task, no matter what day it happens to be. However, trying it on a day that's whole significance is balance is great for helping children to make connections and learn new information. This is best used as a family activity. Find an extremely level spot outdoors and challenge each other to see who can balance their egg first. There is some research that indicates that this task is more likely to be achieved closer to the actual equinox. You can find out when this specifically is by reading the Farmer's Almanac each year or by looking up the information online.
2) BLESS THE SEEDS
The Spring equinox signifies a time of new life, a start to the growing season. This day would be a great day to gather all seeds that you plan to plant and all of your gardening tools and say a prayer with your children that the seeds while thrive and flourish when planted. It may also be a great day to plant seeds. If it is too cold to plant outdoors still in the climate where you live, you could always plant seeds indoors in pots or window boxes to be transferred outside later on. This activity could easily become a yearly ritual for your family and something your children will look forward to.
3) UP, UP, and AWAY
Celebrate the Spring equinox by having your children make their own kites and draw pictures on them that depict what Spring means to them. After the kites are constructed, take them outside and try and make them fly, kids will love this challenge. If you are new to the art of kite-making or kite-flying, the following three websites should be very helpful to you: http://www.blueskylark.org/zoo/ , http://coda.co.za/kites_and_kite_flying/index.html , and http://www.gombergkites.com/howgen.html .
4) EGG COLORING AND EGGSHELL FLOWERS
Egg coloring does not have to be reserved for Easter only, why not color eggs to signify the Spring Equinox as well? Kids love this activity, turning boring white eggs into colorful masterpieces is something amazing and pleasing to the eye.
Now, after the eggs are shelled and ready to be eaten, don't discard the shells. Here's another great project for children. Break the shells up into small pieces and then let your children use them to make spring flowers. Have children glue the tiny pieces of eggshell inside the outline of a flower on a piece of paper, preferably construction or other heavy paper. You may provide children with a template of a flower outline, stencils, or a selection of flower coloring pages.
These are just four great activities to use to introduce your children to Spring and to help them understand the meaning of the Spring Equinox, there are many other activities you can do. Some of the best ones may be ones that you and your children think up yourselves and make tradition in your home.