It’s gardening season and if you haven’t started planting seeds in the ground make sure to ask your little one for help. Gardening is a great, amazing, wonderful way to engage in some experiential learning. Through gardening your kiddo will be growing their math, science, fine, and gross motor skills. Did I mention it is a ton of fun? As we all know when fun and learning come together information sticks. Studies show that kids who engage in gardening do better on science tests in elementary school. If your garden is already in full effect no worries, you can still get the kids in on the action. Here are some tips and tricks for gardening with your little farmer.
- Ask questions! Why do plants need sun? What are the different parts of the plant? How does a plant drink water? Questions are a great way to insert science! From bugs to flowers ASK QUESTIONS! Not a bug or plant expert? No problem! If you’re not sure of the answer yourself ask your little learner where they think you can find the answer, then look it up together.
- Make predictions! Ask how big they think each plant will get. Ask how many tomatoes they think they will pick by the end of summer. Make sure that you write their answers down and post it where they are able to see their responses. Providing them opportunities to reflect on their original predictions is super important. It is great for little ones to see that they can alter their final predictions based off running results.
- Get some math in on the action by having your little one measure the plants once they start to sprout. In one of my classes we had a plant race. We each picked a plant and made “bets” on which would get to a certain height first. While it was the slowest race EVER the kids had a ton of fun and loved measuring the plants every day.
- Play seed detective! This is one of my favorite games. Have the children examine and sort seeds. I would always pick four different seeds. When selecting your seeds think about different colors, patterns and sizes. Have the children work on sorting them into piles (fine motor and math!) then have them guess what will grow from each variety of seed. One, the answers you get are going to be hilarious. I cannot tell you how many candy plants I’ve had over the years. Two, this is a long exploration. As the plants begin to have distinct features make sure to have plant reference books so they can use the plants “clues” like leaf shape, to figure out what kind of plant it is.
These are just a few of the amazing gardening explorations you can dig up. Please make sure to plant your favorite gardening activity in the comments below!