Last year we did a great big vegetable garden in our backyard – and loved it! In fact we still have some tomatoes and green beans in the freezer. I absolutely loved being outside in my garden, and probably for that exact reason, so did my kids. I never had to ask for a helper to weed, water, or harvest. I was surprised at all of the learning that came from my little ones gardening: the responsibility, persistence, patience, disappointment (oh those snap peas!), language development, science and math.
As I have mentioned time and again (like in our post yesterday, and the day before … I do apologize) we are very ready for spring. So imagine my excitement, when in the midst of YET ANOTHER snowstorm, my vegetable seeds arrived! This meant we could actually start planning our garden and dreaming about what is just around the corner.
This post is the first on many to come about gardening with kids. Whether you are on a farm, in the suburbs, or even in an apartment, a garden IS possible, and is such a fun and meaningful learning experience for kids. Whether it is an acre or a container, it is bound to be an adventure for a little farmer.
Our first gardening with kids activity was a seed activity for kids – comparing and sorting seeds.
For this seed activity for kids:
First, I used the rice from one of our older sensory bins (this a simple nature sensory bin) and put it in a shallow container.
Then, Madeline (11) and I selected some seeds from the packets. We tried to select ones that were bigger and distinctive, though it was a challenge. We chose spinach, swiss chard, peas (yes – we are trying those snap peas again this year!), beans, squash, cucumber, and broccoli – though the broccoli were super tiny. We used little squares of construction paper to write the name of the vegetable and draw a little picture. We taped those pictures to an ice cube tray, and put one or two of each type of seed in the correct spot.
Next, we sprinkled a few of each type of seed onto the rice. Then we were ready to explore!
We started by talking to Sam (3.5) about each of the seeds. He could tell by the picture what each vegetable was and began examining each seed. There was lots of chatting and oral language development happening. The swiss chard seed was rough and bumpy, the squash and cucumber seeds were very similar, just varied in size, and the broccoli seeds were so tiny.
Finally, Sam explored the sensory bin looking for seeds. Once he found one, he would examine it and try to match it with one in the ice cube tray. He started with the beans because they were so big and dark. Next he looked for the cucumber and squash seeds because they are quite distinct. He laid them all out before sorting them on size to decide which were cucumber seeds and which were squash. He managed to find at least one seed for each vegetable … except for those teeny broccoli!
This seed activity for kids is full of learning. Comparing, contrasting, developing language, and strengthening fine motor skills – as long as so many other important skills. It also helped my little ones get excited about the garden!
I am looking forward to sharing our gardening adventures with you this year! I hope you will join us at home.
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