Last week we had a lesson on the four seasons in the group of 5-and-unders that I teach in a homeschool co-op.

We started with four trees on a page; each tree gets something glued to it:

spring- popcorn
summer- tear bits of green construction paper, hole punch red paper for apples
fall- tiny brown leaves (I used honey locust) or torn brown paper bag
winter- drizzle school glue all over tree and across the base, the child uses a finger to spread it smooth; sprinkle with table salt.  

Their favorite was the winter tree! 

You  can even listen to Vivaldi's The Four Seasons while making these...

The full lesson is below, with activities and songs.  
Print this full-page size. I printed them black and white because that's all my printer does...
Four Seasons lesson/activities
Materials needed:
music: Rain is Falling All Around, Popcorn Popping, Once There Was a Snowman, In the Leafy Treetops 
Vivaldi’s Four Seasons CD, CD player
Four Season discovery bottles
Autumn sensory box
4-tree papers (1 per child)
Popcorn kernels, popcorn popper, bowl with lid, spray bottle with water
Green construction paper
Red construction paper and a hole punchSmall colored leaves or yellow/orange paper
School glue
Wipes to clean hands

Seasons song: Rain is Falling All Around (leaves are falling, snow is falling, sun is shining, wind is blowing)

Listen to The Four Seasons with eyes closed; what season does it sound like?  What do you see?  Dance to the music, pretending to be a something in that season: an unfurling leaf, a bird, wind blowing, snow falling...

Four Seasons bottles to pass around

Four seasons artwork: divide a page into 4 sections each has a tree outline?  Older ones can write seasons

Get the popcorn popper and kernels ready, sing "Popcorn Popping". Pop the popcorn.

While working on the summer trees, sing In the Leafy Treetops.

Winter:  use fingers to spread glue on the branches and below the tree; sprinkle on salt (or could paint with salt water on tree with a black construction paper background) Sing Once there Was a Snowman

Autumn sensory box for when done: a box full of things like a “Can You See?” book- things of different textures and warmth, things to find, things to count, crocheted apples,

Mist the leftover popcorn with the spray bottle, add salt.  Put the lid on and shake to coat.  


Is including this lesson useful to anyone? Or should I stick with closer-to-homemaking posts?  
photo credit: USU Extension
At this stage of bloom, 28 degrees will kill about 10% of your blossoms, 25 degrees will destroy about 90%.  Apples can still produce a full crop with only 10-15 % of the buds surviving.  Find out more, including how to protect your future fruit, below.

Do you have fruit trees in your yard?  Apple, pear, peach, nectarine, apricot, plum, or cherry?

Did you know that freezing temperatures won't necessarily knock out all possibility of getting a crop? 

And 32 degrees is not the death-knoll for apple blossoms.

The damaging temperature is different, too, if  your trees are almost ready to bloom versus being in full bloom.

The Utah State University Extension office recently published a chart with full-color photos of different bloom stages.  It tells what temperatures to watch out for.  It can be found here

So what can you do to protect your crop?  Farmers sometimes put out big propane heaters, but most homeowners don't have these on hand.

Two simpler suggestions: cover, or water.

They work on the same principle; to give some insulation to the blossoms. 

Way #1: If your tree is small, throw a sheet or blanket over it.  This should keep your tree maybe 5-10 degrees warmer than the surrounding air.

Way #2: - what my parents have always done-  turn on a sprinkler, set it so the water is hitting your tree.  Leave it on overnight.  The water will freeze, forming a layer over the blossoms.  The ice stays at 32 degrees, which means your blossoms stay at 32 degrees.  Niceice blanket.   No bloom kill.    Go easy on the water, though; you don't want to add so much (ice) weight that the branches start to break.

You can use this to extend your growing season in fall, too; protect your garden from an early freeze.

If you haven't planted your trees yet, consider putting them on a north slope.  The soil and air are cooler there, so the trees will bloom later.  When it's safer.
Just make sure they will get at least 6-8 hours of sunlight a day.  That's required for good fruit production.