Spring Activity Ideas for Upper Elementary

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It’s that time of year (finally!) You’re opening your third or fourth grade classroom windows, you’re not totally hating outdoor recess duties, and you may not have to think about what you wear as much because dresses are one piece.

Spring fever is known all too well by both us and our students, and we should embrace all of the good vibes that spring has to offer!

Here are some of my favorite ways to take advantage of spring vibes in upper elementary. I loved doing all of these in both my third and fourth grade classrooms!

  1. Bring your math curriculum outside–with a bucket of sidewalk chalk! This is one of the easiest ways to elevate routine math practice and works with any elementary concept. It’s extra fun for illustrating fractions, shapes in geometry, and more. Keep chalk in your supply closet for no-prep engagement.

  2. Look for math concepts in the outside world. Spring is usually time to teach measurement, so why not measure leaves the nearest half inch? What about calculating the area of the school garden? Or the symmetry we see in flowers?

If you can’t quite get outside due to weather, I love using this spring-themed measurement activity for third grade or the fourth grade version. The digital version is fantastic for independent centers, and the print version makes for such a fun partner activity!

3. While we’re on the outdoor note, take a nature walk during your poetry unit. One of my favorite ways to teach writing haikus was to simply sit outside on a nice day and write down what we saw, heard, smelled, and felt. Then, we would write spring-themed haikus.

4. Do all of your students celebrate Easter? If so, have an Easter egg hunt around the classroom. What’s inside the eggs? Questions! I loved using this idea for measurement in math, but you can cut up any worksheet for ELA, Science, Social Studies, and more to spice up regular lessons. Fillable plastic eggs are so cheap and you can use them year after year.

5. Even if your students aren’t into college basketball, my students loved having our March Madness-inspired book tournament each year! You can do as much prep as you’d like to for this idea, but I took the low-prep route.

I made this editable bracket template and chose 16 popular chapter books in my classroom. You could also choose to have students nominate the books you put on the bracket! Each week, we would vote on our favorite book after students said a few words about each book and why it was worthy of winning the round. We would update the master bracket on a bulletin board outside our classroom and the entire school followed along! Eventually we chose one book to be the ultimate winner. This took only a few minutes each week, and it was absolutely a highlight of every spring.

Bulletin board showing a March Madness themed book tournament for fourth grade

6. World Children’s Book Day is on April 2nd, and there are so many things you can do with this! I love showing students that you’re never too old to grab a “children’s book” (aka picture books instead of chapter books for the day) and learn from it. You can practice so many valuable skills and standards using a picture book

I loved using the book The Circles All Around Us by Brad Montague then doing companion activities that helped students examine the world around them.

7. I’d also be doing April a disservice if I didn’t mention my favorite week–Titanic week. *puts on historian hat*  The Titanic set sail on April 10, 1912 and officially sank on April 15, 1912. The Titanic is such as high-interest event for upper elementary, so I tied our entire curriculum to the subject for one week.

We would practice our current reading skills using Titanic books and passages, research passengers on Encyclopedia Titanica, and I even created a whole pack of measurement activities that helped us learn facts about the ship.

8. Spring is also when I would throw my favorite day–glow day! I pride myself on creating engaging student experiences on a budget–both with money and time. I made this pack of glow accessories and decor that would accompany the curriculum I had to be teaching any way. Some years I did this for test prep, and some years I did this as an end-of-the-year surprise.

Glow bracelets are so cheap, and a pack of these could last me several years! I also used UV tape on materials we already had and the floor to really help the room glow. I did buy LED blacklights, but these lasted throughout my entire career and were even shared among teachers.

While we’re chatting spring, one of my best-selling resources (editable name coloring bookmarks) now features St. Patrick’s Day, Spring, and Easter!

I hope this list helps spark some ideas to engage your upper elementary students and channel that spring fever! Spring is the perfect time to explore the beautiful world (and school playground) around us as teachers, and your students will thank you for getting creative with how you teach the standards.

What fun spring activities would you add to this list?

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