Easter is the perfect opportunity to introduce the natural world and the seasons in your setting, and is a great way to touch on the Understanding the World characteristic. The theme of the Easter Egg, the relationship to spring and the renewal of the seasons, and the various animals associated with Easter each provide a rich seam of reading materials to share with your early years.
Here are a five That Nursery Life recommendations for books that will inspire curiosity, wonder and a whole host of questions about animals and the natural world from your children.
"Twas the night before Easter, just before dawn, Not a creature was stirring out on the lawn."
You guessed it,*The Night Before Easter* is a charming take on the classic poem *A Visit from St. Nicholas* by Clement Clarke Moore, but this time with an Easter twist. Where before you had Santa and sugarplums you now have the Easter Bunny and jelly beans, accompanied by lively – as ever – illustrations by Kathy Couri. There is plenty to engage early years children, both in the fresh-yet-familiar poetry, and things to spot and talk about in each of the pictures. Maybe your early years will spot the ginger cat smuggled onto every page!
Chickens Aren't the Only Ones: A Book About Animals that Lay Eggs
By: Ruth Heller
Easter, and the tradition of the Easter Egg, is the perfect opportunity to share the wonder of nature and all of the different animals that lay eggs. Your early years might only know about chickens, so will be surprised and engaged by the range of animals that Heller covers in this whistle-stop tour of all things oviparous (yes we googled the word).
From dinosaurs to bugs via amphibians and even the two mammals that lay eggs (did you know that?), Chickens Aren't the Only Ones is a perfect way to tie this time of year to the Understanding the World characteristic.
Peppa Pig, who needs no introduction, shares the joys of Grandfather Pig's Easter Egg Hunt with her friends Freddy Fox and Rebecca Rabbit in this pleasant tale of fun with friends. Although the journey begins as a simple hunt for chocolatey goodies it quickly becomes an interesting natural lesson as Peppa and co. discover the surprise awaiting everybody in the Hen House. You know what you get with a Peppa Pig book, and it is an almost guaranteed hit with any early years group.
"Hey look! A Duck!
That's not a duck. That's a rabbit!"
Duck! Rabbit! is a book that will have your early years in fits as they learn that often there is more than one way to see the same thing. Rosenthal and Lichtenheld's simple illustrations play on the old Duck/Rabbit optical illusion, using contextual cues (such as that ducks eat bread and rabbits eat carrots) to help children try and problem solve: are they looking at a duck or a rabbit?
The back and forth becomes increasingly ridiculous, and funny, as the debate unfolds; for example, is the duck drinking water or is the rabbit cooling its ears? The book is a fantastic spur to questions from your early years children and a great asset in exploring nature, the differing perspectives of others, and Understanding the World.
Ideal for the youngest children in your setting, this lift-flap board book is an endearing romp. The hidden eggs provide the perfect opportunity to introduce some counting while the flaps themselves are a great opportunity for developing their motor skills. As ever with Spot books, Spots First Easter is also a lovely introduction to the game of hide-and-seek! There's a reason many of us grew up on Eric Hill's books, and Easter is the perfect opportunity to share them with the children in your setting.