Garden for pre-schoolers...

evan_OH(z5 OH)March 15, 2005

I'm working on helping with the garden at my daughter's day-care. I'm trying to think of fun activities that they can do to help out outside of the regular planting stuff - like building irrigation pots, toad and fairy houses, as well as kid-friendly plants. I've got a pretty big veggie collection, but I'd also like to put some safe but interesting flowers back there - go beyond the sunflower thing...

Thanks!

Evan

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tracywag(Z5 NY)

I like to do Marigolds with my kids. They are such an instant gratification flower! Sweet Peas are also good, they grow very fast and smell nice. Morning glories if you have something they can grow up, kids are facinated by the flowers opening and closing, as well as how the tendrils work.

Let us know how you make out!

    Bookmark   March 16, 2005 at 8:11AM
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marie_in_wa(8 (coastal))

I remember as a kid, I always loved snap draons, and the way you could pinch them to make their "mouths" open up.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2005 at 6:37PM
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storygardener(5/6 central oh)

When my son was little we planted the "pizza garden". We put in tomatoes, onions, green peppers, basil or oregano. Later in the summer we would make the pizza sauce from our garden and it was so much fun.

He's now 25...but, still remembers the pizza garden.

You can let the children decorate one side of a paint stirrer and then print clearly the name of the plant. Thus, they help create plant stakes for your garden plus see the word that corresponds to the plant. (Good for learning to read) I was a preschool teacher many years ago.

Let the children help create a scarecrow for the garden by filling up old clothes with straw. Can use a bucket for the head and paint on a funny face.

Have fun!!

Beverly

    Bookmark   March 22, 2005 at 9:13PM
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tdogmom(9)

Have you considered a butterfly garden? I teach Kindergarten and ALL of the seeds we plant are butterfly-friendly. :) Another thing you can do is plant seeds using florist's gel in a baggy and place the baggy in a window so that as the seeds grow, the children can see the roots through the gel and the baggy! This is totally cool. Once the seedlings sprout, you transplant the seedling into soil. :) OR, the children take their baggy home to transplant the seedling. You can purchase the gel crystals at any good nursery under the name Soil Moist. A few teaspoons of crystals makes a huge amount of gel! :)

    Bookmark   March 30, 2005 at 11:54AM
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highnthemnts(z5 CO)

I thought i'd use both your suggestions... marigold seeds in soil moist gel in bags. this would be for a small class of preschoolers. i'd transplant the sprouts to little cups, and hopefully they'd have something nice to take home this summer?! tell me what you think.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2005 at 1:09AM
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fgirl21(z6 - MA)

Multi stage project:

1) make a teepee form from bamboo poles
2) plant a bean or sweet pea vine
The kids get VEGGIES out of their project and a neat place to sit/hide.

Make plant markers. All the kids have to do is make pictures of flowers/veggies and an adult can write the names

Let them MAKE planters out of milk cartons, coffee cans, old yogurt cups. They get to paint/decorate as they see fit and can take their seedling home in it.

Paint rocks to border a flower bed. What preschooler doesn't love to paint?!?! And a flower bed edged in colorful rocks is adorable.

Rain gauges - they don't have to be exact but preschoolers can identify numbers. Again, a container that they can decorate on their own then apply markings. Maybe use a straw glued to the inside of the cup as a gauge. Plug the top so they don't try to drink it!!

If you do a butterfly garden - have them help fill a shallow dish with sand to make a puddling place for the butterflies. Or have them mush up fruit for a butterfly feeder. To add to that theme, have them make butterflies out of coffee filters (I can provide instructions if you want).

Need more ideas?

    Bookmark   April 4, 2005 at 8:48AM
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GaelicGardener(z6 RI)

I have a Fairy Garden that I made from a birdbath that the birds wouldn't use. The basin is shallow so I used succulents that don't have deep roots. It's in its second year and the plants came back. I added some moss clumps recently. I used a little wooden birdhouse from a dollar store. You could have the children decorate a plain wooden birdhouse from a craft store. Also from the craft store are dollhouse miniatures: birdbath, gardening tools, brooms, wheelbarrow, clay pots. I posted a picture of it in the Garden Photo Gallery Forum.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   May 29, 2005 at 10:04AM
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nuttshell(z7 GA)

I LOVE it! In fact I may try it too, that is if I can find an empty spot somewhere.......

    Bookmark   May 30, 2005 at 11:07AM
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Sally22(7b)

We grow seeds with our four and five year olds with Bounty paper towels folded into quarters, wet and placed in a zip lock bag with a bean seed inside where you can observe the roots when they start to grow. We tape them to the panes of the window. Remember to always plant a couple of extras with no name, then when a child's seed fails to germinate, you can replace it with a good one. In our outdoor garden we plant lemon balm, rosemary and various mints for fragrance. Bev Bos (noted preschool educator) says children live in odor-sterile environments, because of all the germicides, etc. we use to clean our homes and schools, and they need good smells. We plant lots of fennel, dill and parsley so the caterpillars will be welcome. We often take a caterpillar inside to hatch and then enjoy letting the butterly go. It makes the children much more protective of insects. BTW, when you have children make decorative objects, you are not encouraging art, but craft. While craft has its place, children should also understand that they do not have to make practical things for their art to have value. Why not have them take their art supplies outside and make pictures of their garden, or bring in some flowers for them to draw? This is one of the teachings of Reggio Emilia, an excellent preschool philosophy.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2005 at 5:26PM
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sorellina(z5/6 Toronto)

The bean idea is really great because they grow so fast. I did this when my son was 4 and was even able to get in a plant anatomy lesson that stuck with him. You can tell him that the big halves of the seed (the cotyledons) give the sprout lots of food to help it grow at first, then as the roots grow, they get more food from the soil and the leaves get food from the air. Kids are big on food so they get that.

Butterfly gardens are great too because they don't need a lot of adult help in planting the small seeds. We just combined them with potting mix (you could use sand too if you had it on hand) and let him "fling" it onto soil that we'd cultivated together. We got him his own kid-sized gardening tools and gloves so he could rake in the seeds and then water them himself. Some of the flowers were sort of bunched together but it was a great success and he got to feel that good "ownership" of having created it himself.

Tiny terra cotta flowerpots are available at craft stores that kids can paint and plant things in, or for the more frugal, we used individual small yogurt containers with holes poked into the bottom. You could maybe paper mache around the yogurt container. I'm not sure how that would work on plastic.

Some ideas anyhow ;o)

Cheers,
Julianna

    Bookmark   July 21, 2005 at 12:12PM
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