How Does Your Garden Grow? 5 Garden Activities



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Last Mother’s Day, my kids gave me a great planter for us to start a home garden!



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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!



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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.



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How does your garden grow???  How have you involved your children in your garden?

Painting Circles With Plastic Eggs – Mommy Teacher Spotlight

If you are looking for an activity to re-use those eggs from the egg hunts… look no further.

I love my artsy friend Allie and all the ways she crafts with her kids.  Keep reading because she inspired me to do this with my kids today and that is what The Mommy Teacher is all about:

“My girls, AvaKate (3) and Addie (2), absolutely love doing crafts. They would do them all day long if I let them.  So, when we woke up this morning, they asked to paint.

We painted yesterday, so I wanted to do something a little different.

They had an Easter egg hunt at school yesterday and I wanted to reuse those annoying, oh I mean amazing, plastic eggs before I secretly threw them away, I mean put them back in their baskets (any Moms with me??).

I took them apart and let them dip it into finger paint (easier clean up) and it made circles on their paper. Addie is really into shapes so she got really excited to see the shapes on her paper. Very simple, but it was exciting for the girls to incorporate their eggs from their egg hunt.


Painting with Easter eggs


 

You can also see in the picture little pieces of string and paper. My oldest, AvaKate is obsessed with decorating and making gifts… So those elements were her specific request.

I put some glue on their plate and gave them a paint brush and they “decorated” their art. They loved it! And I loved it because it was all stuff I had around the house and it kept them occupied while I nursed my six week old!”

Happy Mardi Gras!

The weather on this Mardi Gras Day is anything but parade-friendly.

It’s cold, wet, and icy; which is NOT what we are used to Down here in Louisiana!

So, the Mardi Gras activity pack that I made for my young kids is coming in handy!!!

Here is a glimpse from my TpT store 🙂


The Mommy Teacher Mardi Gras Activities on TPT


The packet has a mask template, a king cake shape puzzle (that can also function like a game board), and a bead necklace pattern template.

You can get it here at this link: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Mardi-Gras-Activities-with-mask-template-1133280

Or, if you are a member, I am adding it now. 🙂

A friend of mine took a picture of her little one eating king cake while doing the king cake activity and it made my day:


Mardi Gras King Cake Activity


Enjoy!

Christmas Math Pack

Making these math pages reminded me of the homework I used to send home when I was teaching.  In fact, I actually made this because there was a parent whose child WANTED homework, but wasn’t getting any sent home in his folder as the holidays were approaching.


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Yes, I realize that not everyone would want homework (or homework like this) sent home.  But, I think everything is what you make of it, and I used to make these fun through the dialogue we would have and all the ways we would come up with to discover the answers to these “problems.”

Pages like this can get a bad wrap (pun intended).

If recording sheets are coined as “work sheets” then that can suggest that they are used in boring ways to accomplish boring tasks.

I would like to suggest that when counting the presents we would give each tree a child’s name and we are going to be Santa’s helpers to count how many presents are under each tree and take an inventory so we can report back to Santa how many presents each child received.

And for the one with the ornaments we are in charge of decorating the North Pole Christmas trees and we have to record how many decorations we used on each tree so we can keep track of them to use again next year.

You can also use these to teach the importance of taking your time, checking your work, and other similar skills that are important for hard workers.  If the elves weren’t hard workers Christmas just wouldn’t be the same.

This four-page printable is included in my membership because I sell in on TeachersPayTeachers, but if you check out my membership you might be shocked about how much you are getting for such a quick and easy deal.

 

Elf on the Shelf Art

Casey is subbing for her son’s class next week and was brainstorming an activity to do with the students.  Casey is so good at coming with Elf on the Shelf ideas that I thought it would be cute if she did an Elf on the Shelf Art and Writing activity with his class.

My former co-worker had her students make an elf using construction paper and measure their elves using paper strips of cube towers.


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So, I thought it would be helpful to come up with a template.
I made a single page elf template:



An elf template for coloring an elf on the shelf in detail.



An elf template for coloring an elf on the shelf in detail.

And I also made multiple pages of shapes for tracing and cutting out the template to make a large construction paper elf.
I also added a writing page so that older kids could give their elf a story.

When I sell activities like this on TeachersPayTeachers I also make them available for members.  My membership is currently at an all time low price but will go up.

Click HERE to get the templates.  They are included in my membership (which is just $5 a year) OR you can purchase them for just $1.50 in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.

“Like” and keep up with our album: 24 Days of Christmas Printables!  I post freebies every few days!



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