I'm thrilled to be a part of the 2013 Gardening With Kids Linky, co-hosted by Erin Dean from The Usual Mayhem and Amy Ahola from Child Central Station. Be sure to check out the links at the bottom of this post for tons of more garden and planting ideas!
Already this year, we've learned about the life cycle of an apple tree, vegetables and farming and pumpkin life cycles, but Spring is the time where we "dig in" to learning about planting a garden. We've used the plants and flowers theme all across the curriculum and in our learning centers.
Planting Seeds to make a Window Garden
One of our small group activities was to wet a cotton ball and put it and a lima bean in a baggie to hang in our window. We will be able to watch the seed begin to sprout.
Making Flowers in Art Center
I got out the collage box to make a couple of flowers for our Spring bulletin board. Watching me create with the materials inspired some of the children to make flowers of their own.
I also made a coffee filter flower, using coffee filters, markers and some leftover painted paper and before I knew it, we had a garden of those flowers, as well.
A few of the children drew their favorite vegetables one day.
Here's the Spring bulletin board so far. The carrots were leftover from another project, so we "planted" them in the dirt, and added the vegetables the children drew. We tucked the flowers in the grass and added the butterflies that some of the kids made while exploring with the coffee filters. We'll add to it as the children make more flowers or bugs.
As often happens, things don't always turn out as planned. I wanted to show the children how a plant "drinks" water. We were to put cut flowers in water colored with dye and watch the dye as it traveled to the parts of the plant. When I shopped for cut flowers, I couldn't find carnations like I've used in the past. I picked what I thought was a suitable substitute. Things started off good, but a week later when Spring Break began, our flower petals still had not changed color. I did go back to the school mid week to try to take some pictures to show the children when they returned, but I was told that most of the petals had fallen off and thrown away. The few remaining flowers were STILL white! Oh well, we'll try again another time! As is often my luck, sometimes things just don't go as planned. In the photos below, you can see a bit of the color seeping into the flowers, but just in small areas.
We've also cut an avocado open and observed the giant seed. We put toothpicks in to prop it over a cup, so that half the seed is in water and half is out. We'll be watching this begin to grow roots and sprout into a tree.
Getting our Garden Ready For Planting
We've started getting our garden ready now that the weather is starting to warm up. We'll plant seeds this week and see the first flowers just before summer break.
When school started, the garden was lush and filled with blooms from the previous Spring planting. The children have been excited to make a garden like the one last year's class planted.
Creating a Flower Shop in Dramatic Play
Before we left for break, the children suggested opening a floral shop in dramatic play. I had planned on doing that anyway, but it is so much more meaningful to the kids when it is their own idea. On Monday when we return, I'll have them help me create the learning center. Here are some of the pictures from previous years of how I've transformed the dramatic play center into a floral shop.
Music and Movement
We've been singing and dancing to "plant" songs. One of the songs we've sung is a song I've picked up somewhere along the way. I think Dr. Jean does a version, too. We touch our head for "flowers", our torso for "stem", hands out flat for "leaves" and feet and legs for "roots". We like to start slow and get faster and faster!
Flower, Stem, Leaves and Roots
(tune: Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes)
Flower, stem, leaves and roots, leaves and roots.
Flower, stem, leaves and roots, leaves and roots.
All it needs is sun and showers
And the seed grows into a flower!
We love Deborah Stewart's (from Teach Preschool) song, "The Seed Begins In The Garden". The children curl up like seeds and start to grow and grow as the song builds until they are standing tall!
Here's a little video of the song. The entire cd, "Simple Songs for Preschoolers" is great! Pop on over to Teach Preschool if you'd like to order a copy!
Reading about Planting and Gardens
As I mentioned in an earlier post, the publishers at Scholastic sent over complimentary copies of "Clifford's My Big World" classroom magazines. In our small groups, we read the issue on plants and discussed plant life cycles. If you'd like to hear more about these magazines, you'll find information in my post, "Singing In The Rain: Learning About Weather in Pre-K".
We've also read some really great books about plants! Here are some of our favorites:
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Don't forget to scroll down and check out the great links below! If you've got a post about gardening, we'd love for you to add it to the linky below!
* The Usual Mayhem * Child Central Station * Housing a Forest * Rainy Day Mum * Growing Green Fingered Kids * Nature and Play * Fantastic Fun and Learning * Kitchen Counter Chronicles * Teach Preschool * The Educators' Spin On It * Kindergarten and Preschool for Parents and Teachers * The Fairy and the Frog * Let The Children Play * Little Illuminations * Early Play Outdoors * 52 Days to Explore * Music Sparks * Milk and Cuddles * Teach Beside Me * The Pleasantest Thing * Making Boys Men * I'm a teacher, get me OUTSIDE here *