Last Mother’s Day, my kids gave me a great planter for us to start a home garden!
My husband works at a factory and they frequently get shipments of equipment that come in these long crates that are perfect for starting a garden (especially because they are free). Keep your eyes peeled for wooden crates and pallets and you can get free planters as well!
This year we have a few more!
Now, this is a little intimidating for me because I do NOT have a green thumb… but my husband is a little bit better at watering…and my kids are REALLY good at watering… a little too good as they sometimes over water.
So many early childhood teachers will grow plants in the classroom for kids to learn the parts of the plant, how to care for a plant, and what plants need to grow: soil, water, sun. Here are a few activities for you to do at home to teach your kids about growing plants if you have or plan on starting your own garden at home.
1. Journal: Have your kids document plant growth.
Pre-schoolers – model drawing sketches of what your plants look like each week and then give them a crayon for them to do the same (may not look like much, but they will at least think they are drawing a plant). Introduce vocabulary such as plant, green, grow, sun, soil
Pre-K – have them add words to their drawings (even if their words are just a mix up of letters – write what they are trying to spell underneath). Vocabulary: the name of the plants, ex: bell peppers, parts of the plant
Kinder – write a sentence or two describing the plant. Vocabulary and discussion: the name of the plants, ex: bell peppers, parts of the plant, why plants are important
1st grade and above – a paragraph (minimum) documenting any changes they may see, how long they watered, what time of the day they watered, etc. Vocabulary and Discussion: the name of the plants, ex: bell peppers, parts of the plant, describe why plants are important, how they reproduce, nutrition and the benefits of eating home grown foods
2. Predict: Have your kids predict what is going to happen throughout the summer with their plants, use your journal from above to help document, then calculate results by a certain date at the end of the summer.
Calendar Math: Using a summer calendar, mark the day you plant your plants. Have your kids each choose a different date in which they predict they can start picking their ripe produce.
Measuring: Using a ruler, guess the size of the produce and how tall the plants will become by the end of the summer. Have them draw this out on poster paper to compare at the end of the summer.
Counting: Predict the amount of produce each type of plant will produce.
Science – Weather: predict the number of rainy days versus sunny days
Comparison: predict what type of plant will produce the biggest/smallest, most/least amount, greenest, etc. produce
3. Experiment: Get several seedlings that are the same type and are all similar in size. Experiment with different amounts of sunlight or soil type or watering schedule (choose one) to see what is the optimal amount for that particular plant. Plant several seedlings in each of the different conditions to get the best average outcome. And, go back to the first activity: journal 🙂
4. Create a Cookbook: As your plants are growing, decide as a family what you are going to use your plants for and create a family cookbook together! Take pictures of your growing plants to include in the “ingredients” section of each recipe.
BONUS: Include a raw versus cooked taste test of each fruit/vegetable to include that 5th sense that we often don’t get to use in a classroom.
5. Dissect the Plants:
Science: learn about the different plant parts including the parts you don’t see… inside the stem, the roots, inside the fruit and flowers. When you are finished, use the roots, stem, leaves, flowers to make art on a poster board.
Math: Compare/Contrast the different types of plants: length, leaf shape, fruit, root length and thickness and number of roots
Art: Create leaf prints by placing a piece of paper on top of the leaves and using the edge of a crayon to etch the shape of the leaf. Draw the type of produce next to each leaf.
BONUS: One of my friends started a private Facebook group for some of her friends who wanted to start a home garden. On it we are sharing pictures and knowledge with each other and when the produce is ripe, we will be having garden picking parties! It is nice to see what everyone else is growing (and these ladies know way more than I do about gardening so it’s helpful too)! I encourage you to start a similar group for your friends with green (or slightly unripened) thumbs.
It is so wonderful seeing how excited my kids are to watch our plants grow! Right now, we just have bell peppers and cherry tomatoes, but we hope to fill our other planters soon!
Leyson and I tore a paper plate in half to draw our measurements of the peppers (paper plates are sturdier than sheets of paper thus easier to measure the peppers on). We used a marker to draw a line on each side of the paper and later use a ruler to measure from line to line. We numbered our peppers 1, 2 and 3. Measure them week by week so you can see how much they grow in one week.
How does your garden grow??? How have you involved your children in your garden?
This is a Mommy Teacher Spotlight from a friend that works out at the same gym as me… that will be no surprise to you after you see what she is all about.
The following post is from Niki (whose information to link up to her site is at the bottom of this post… so check it out!):
Niki writes “It was a 4:30AM kind of morning. I was pulling out of my driveway to see an early client. My crazy neighbor was at it again. Running up and down the street. Back and forth. The monotony of it practically put me back to bed. I wondered why on earth she ran back and forth. We lived a quarter mile from the cities running hot-spot. A beautiful 3 mile loop around the university lake. It made no sense and the absurdity of her routine drove me bonkers. Years past and every morning I gave her a we’re-up-too-early wave of camaraderie, followed by a you’re-more-nuts-than-me look.
One morning as I was headed off I noticed she had 2 mini-me companions on her morning route of back-and-forth. Two young children on bikes pedaled at her heels. It turns out she was a single mom and the only way she could fit exercise into her day was to wake up earlier than her kids and never stray farther than a backward glance. I immediately fell in love with her no-excuses, make-it-happen mentality. She wasn’t a nut. She was a warrior.
What I didn’t know is that she would become the inspiration for my own back and forthing.
Fast forward 3 years. I’m now a single mom to two wildly fun kiddos, ages 4 and 6. I could never have dreamed up the life I have today. It’s very screen-play-ish. Life throws you curve-balls sometimes. What I’ve learned is that as pressure increases you have two choices: you can either rise or explode. Rising sounds like more fun to me.
I know that I am my child’s greatest teacher. I will pass on my best and my worst qualities to my children.
So I had to ask myself, “what kind of adult do I want my children to become?” “Am I a model for that kind of adult?”
I want my children to be healthy, happy, confident and love themselves. Not self-love in a narcissistic way. Self love in an I-am-worthy-of-greatness way. I want my children to become outside-the-box thinkers, people who laugh at limitations, go after what they want in life and follow their heart’s desire. I want to raise individuals who understand that wholeness comes from within.
Then I asked myself “am I a living example of all I want my children to become?”
Because I value being a mother more than anything in my life, I choose to rise each morning in self-love. Loving yourself by taking care of your personal needs is not selfish. So many mothers feel guilty for taking the time to exercise, prepare meals or relax! We need to embrace self care as a teach-by-example lesson to our children. If we want our children to love themselves, we must teach them to respect their entire being, body-mind-spirit. That includes exercise, feeding the body healthy foods, and seeking solutions to eliminate cravings, poor body image and low energy. The mind can literally become captive inside an unhealthy body. I know, because I struggled with cravings, emotional eating and poor body image for over 15 years. Negative self talk occupied my mind and prevented me from contributing my unique gifts to the world. I knew that I never wanted my children to experience the pain of not loving themselves or the fear of not being enough. Pretty enough. Smart enough. Popular enough. I want my children to experience a love of their bodies as a gift that allows them to do things that bring them joy and allow them to contribute more love to the world.
I choose self love inspired exercise and nutrition daily to fulfill my own physical needs and personal growth desires. When you fill yourself up with good food and exercise, you have more energy to give your children. You show them what it looks like to be healthy and happy. That is a life skill that cannot be taught in a classroom, it must be consistently modeled.
So, I rise each morning long before the sun comes up. I move forward in my self-love inspired life by sprinting back and forth past my children’s bedroom window. I send out a prayer of gratitude for the strong, no-excuses woman who pioneered the path of back and forthing. The mornings I find myself moaning and groaning with a I-don’t-feel-like-it attitude, I envision my future healthy happy adult children. My children are my greatest motivation and my biggest fans!
3 Ways To Model Health & Happiness For Your Kids
1. Identify what makes you happy in life.
What are your deepest desires for your own personal development? Do you have the desire to live in a strong, healthy, energy-abundant body? Do you have the desire to learn a craft or hobby? Do you deeply yearn to volunteer and make a positive impact on the world? What can you do to become the best version of yourself? Inspire your children to reach their highest potential by reaching for yours.
2. Get organized.
Write your self-development goals for the next 6 months. Break down your goals by month and put it in your calendar. If it’s not on your schedule, it’s not happening! Prior to bed, each night make a (doable) to-do list for the next day. Setting goals seems obvious but it doesn’t work unless you actually do it and stick to it!
3. Set it and forget it!
Set your goal and then enjoy each step of your journey towards achieving your goal. Focusing on the end-result will lead to overwhelm. Overwhelm is the inability to make a decision and take action. Take one moment at a time and knock out the 1,2,3’s on your daily to-do list. The most successful people don’t hyper-focus on achievement, they are present with the experience. Remember, your children will learn patience, persistence and follow through if you model a positive attitude on your own self development journey. “
Niki Driscoll is a Mind-Body Connection Expert, Holistic Health Practitioner and Personal Trainer.
Niki created Candy to Kale, a sassy-fun online video program to help women kick cravings and end emotional eating without discipline. Her sassy-edgy style motivates even the most committed self help cynics.Learn how to love yourself healthy and hot at [http://nikidriscoll.com] and visit [http://facebook.com/thenikidriscoll for the designed-by-niki poster series ‘Exercise Meditations.’