Early Childhood Gardening

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  • 1.  Welcome Spring!

    Posted 03-18-2021 11:49:00 AM
    Spring is near and we are so excited to be welcoming back kids to the garden. Looking forward to learning new ideas and tactics through this great community of gardening educators.

    Charlie Richardson
    Highland Youth Garden
    Columbus, Ohio

  • 2.  RE: Welcome Spring!

    Posted 03-21-2021 07:53:00 PM
    I'm excited about spring and gardening too. I am not sure how that will look this spring as my preschool students will still be virtual. I am going to try some home gardening activities that will be sent home for them to do with an adult's help. It is extremely challenging because many of my students do not have any outdoor space to grow plants since they live in an apartment. 

    I'm wondering what other educators do in a situation like this. Let me know if you have any suggestions or ideas.

    Pam Hosimer
    SNAP-Ed Nutrition Educator and Master Gardener
    University of Maryland Extension
    Derwood, MD

  • 3.  RE: Welcome Spring!

    Posted 03-25-2021 09:38:00 AM
    Edited by Amy Carlson 03-25-2021 09:39:25 AM
    Hi Pam,
    Here's one idea from Life Lab: https://lifelab.org/2020/05/wheat-heads/ If you could send home supplies, the kids could make Wheat Heads, which are a fun project that connects gardening to social emotional learning as well, since the kids can draw 4 different feeling faces on the four sides of the pot. This can be done on a windowsill since the plants will not be growing to maturity so they don't need full sun. 
    In the post, they suggest cutting off the bottom of a juice container or milk carton, but reused square 4 inch pots from nursery plants also work great, and hopefully some gardener friends would be more than happy to get stacks of them out of their garages to help out with your project!

    Amy Carlson
    Life Lab Specialist (temporary)
    San Lorenzo Valley Elementary School
    Felton CA

  • 4.  RE: Welcome Spring!

    Posted 03-29-2021 06:55:00 AM
    Hi Pam-

    We have put a lot of links to ECE projects and activity ideas up at:  https://kidsgardening.org/ece-garden-lessons/.

    Using the dried beans from bags of soup beans to make seed viewers is one of my all time favorite and least expensive activities for young children --- you can find that in detailed form at: https://kidsgardening.org/garden-activities-seed-viewer/.

    I  am also a huge fan of bucket gardens using 5 gallon buckets with a few holes drilled in the bottom.  I know that could get expensive if you have a lot of students to buy for, but sometimes restaurants get some of their supplies in 5 gallon buckets and might be willing to donate them (I knew an Master Gardener who use to get buckets from a donut shop).

    Sarah Pounders
    Senior Education Specialist

  • 5.  RE: Welcome Spring!

    Posted 04-02-2021 12:39:00 PM
    Hello Pam, I have seen some success with 'window gardening' in shallow dishes using stubs (top end) of carrots, base of celery, even lettuce and of course avocado pits which can take a long time to show life. Preschoolers may not have patience for avocados.  These can go into soil if available, of course. Discussions can take place on leaf shapes, root growth. Magnifying glass can be used for exploring  the sprouts, make a drawing of plant parts, etc as appropriate for age level.  If schools are providing milk in cartons with meals to those in virtual classes, those can become planters as well as many other food containers (recycle). In one county I have see additional materials mailed to virtual students for at home and extended activities - daily check off sheets, etc.  Just a thought.

    Susan Hyland