Development Basics: Gardening and fine motor skills go hand in hand! The act of digging, pouring water or using a seed-starting kit can help smaller children develop strength in their hands and fingers. Gardens also provide an interactive space to engage and stimulate all of the senses – smell, touch, taste, sound and sight. Parents or teachers can prompt children to describe each sensation after finding items in a Scavenger Hunt.
Life Skills: Planning a garden, planting seeds and watching them grow gives kids a sense of purpose and teaches the importance of responsibility and accountability. In addition, tending to a plant and ensuring it gets what it needs fosters mindfulness. Since gardening is often a slower process, children learn patience, while the wonder of seeing a flower bloom boosts self-confidence and nourishes a positive attitude towards hard work.
Nutrition and Garden-to-Table: Nothing is more rewarding than homegrown food! Edible gardens get children excited about eating healthier and foster a sense of ownership in the garden. Parents and children can develop recipes together for scrumptious strawberries or tasty tomatoes. Gardening can also foster good habits in children, providing moderate-to-high exercise and fresh air for their lungs.
Curriculum Ideas: Gardening can be an important tool to enhance classroom learning. Activities can also be supplemented with books, a trip to the local garden center or farm and more.
- Writing: Keep a plant journal to reinforce key vocabulary and record observations and measurements. Children can also draw sketches or diagrams of their gardens. Six different activity sheets include mini quizzes, diagrams and word search puzzles that reinforce teachings.
- Art: Children can learn about color palettes with analogous color or complementary color container gardens. Parents can lead garden-themed arts and craft time with Nature Paint Brushes, Ladybug Rocks, or Melted Crayon Pumpkins.
- Science: Botany and biology come to life using real plants to learn about photosynthesis, seed germination, basic parts of a plant and plant life cycle. Kids can also learn about the importance of pollinators and other critters in these lessons plans on Birds, Worms, Ladybugs and Butterflies.
- Math: Basic math and units of measurement activities include counting the number of flowers or vegetables on each plant; adding or subtracting harvested crops; measuring the height of plants week-to-week using a graph; and measuring soil depth.
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