How Does Your Garden Grow?
It’s time to think about spring planting. Children are natural gardeners. They are curious, like to learn by doing, and love to play in the dirt. Working in a garden, a child can experience the satisfaction that comes from caring for something over time, while observing the cycle of life firsthand. Gardening gives children a chance to learn an important life skill, one that is overlooked in standard school curriculums. Gardening is also a great way to teach environmental awareness by exploring the workings of nature.
"Eartheasy" provides the following tips for gardening with children:
Their list of top ten crops for children includes radishes, snow peas, cherry tomatos, carrots and nasturtiums. For a complete list and a discusion of the gardening tips, visit the 'eartheasy' website.
Garden themes for preschool children can be a lot of fun. After all, what preschooler doesn’t love to get his or her hands dirty, see plants grow, and watch the dynamic environment of a garden. When working with preschoolers, there are several ways in which you can divide up the study of gardens:
The possibilities are really endless, but the important thing to remember when teaching preschoolers is that the process has to be hands on and it has to be interesting. Create a book of pollinators; watch a white carnation change color when you water the ground using colored water; chart the life cycle of your garden; or discuss good and bad gardening habits that affect the environment. Visit Kids Love to Know for more discussion and specific directions.
Coccinellidae is a family of beetles. They are known as ladybugs in North America but are known by other names in other parts of the world: ladybirds (UK, Ireland, Australia, Pakistan, South Africa) or lady beetles (preferred by some scientists). The ladybug is commonly found every summer in gardens - the most common color is red with black spots, less common is the yellow variety.
What better way to prepare for spring than to raise your own ladybugs for your garden? Insect Lore will send you 15-20 ladybug larvae whenever you are ready for them. Your preschoolers will love watching as the larvae turn into adult ladybugs. They will enjoy watching the new ladybugs explore their new surroundings. Preschoolers will learn what role ladybugs play in the environment.
This activity could be used with a nursery rhyme theme unit. i.e. "Ladybug, Ladybug fly away home . . ."
Ladybug, Ladybug, fly away home,
Your house in on fire and your children are gone,
All except one and that's little Ann,
For she crept under the frying pan.
"Ladybug, ladybug" would be chanted by a small child when this pretty, little, inoffensive insect landed on their person. If the ladybug did not fly away of its own accord the child would gently blow it away chanting "Ladybug, Ladybug, fly away home".
Originally from Britain, the rhyme began with, "Ladybird, ladybird..." Farmers knew of the Ladybird's value in reducing the level of pests in their crops and it was traditional for them to cry out the rhyme before they burnt their fields following harvests (to reduce the level of insects and pests) in deference to the helpful ladybird. Visit Rhymes.org for more history on this rhyme.
Come and have fun with 'ladybug' theme activities and crafts suitable for toddlers, preschoolers and kindergarten at First School.