The theme for this week’s Playful Preschool is nursery rhymes. If you have been following Capri + 3, you may remember that the Sugar Snaps dressed as nursery rhymes for the last two years (Little Bo Peep and Hey Diddle Diddle) for Halloween and their third birthday was the little Bo Peep theme. Since they are well versed in both of those rhymes, I decided to pick one that was new to them: Mary, Mary Quite Contrary.
I also happen to love gardening and enjoy sharing it with them. When they were babies, I used to line up their car seats on the lawn in the front yard close to me while I worked on the flower beds. Cars that came down our street would literally stop to stare. They could not believe that their eyes when they saw four infants lined up on the lawn while I gardened.
Kids love gardening. The Sugar Snaps cannot wait to get their hands on a trowel and start digging holes in the dirt. We talked about the nursery rhyme Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary and recited it a few times before doing our gardening. I picked herbs and ornamental kale for this experience. I had them plant basil, spearmint, peppermint and Greek oregano. I intentionally put some of the fresh basil on their pasta for dinner so they could see quick benefits to their gardening experience.
When Xayden found an earthworm while digging, I acted like he had won the lottery. His initial feelings about being unsure of the wiggly worm quickly changed to feelings of pride and admiration as I explained to all of them the benefits of having earthworms in our garden. Then, they all took turns holding and observing the worm and then gently placed it back in the soil. Before they were born, I did vermicomposting (composting with worms) and intend to return to it soon. It was too hard to keep up when they were active toddlers.
Preschool Gardening Tips:
- Plant vegetables or herbs that they can later (or immediately) taste to show them where food comes from
- Teach them that earthworms burrow in the soil and loosen it which is helpful to the plants (and the gardeners.) Earth worms eat the soil and when it passes through them it leaves castings behind which are rich in nutrients and are an excellent fertilizer which helps the plants.
- Preschoolers are not the most efficient diggers, but let them take their time digging holes for the plants.
- Celebrate any earthworm or insect discoveries with enthusiasm. Often times negative messages about worms, insects and spiders come from adults. Conversely, kids will celebrate these finds if it is modeled by adults around them.
- Once the plants are in the ground, have your preschoolers take care of them and watch them grow.
- If you are using herbs or vegetables, do cooking projects with them where they can harvest from the garden and then use their homegrown ingredients in a recipe.
- Teach them to break up the roots on the bottom of plants before placing them into the hole.
- Teach them gardening vocabulary, such as soil, trowel and fertilizer and help them look for the recycling symbol on the bottom of the pots.
Have you done gardening with kids? Do you have any tips? Feel free to share your tips or experiences here in the comments or on the Capri + 3 Facebook page.
Writing Activities for Preschool: Woolly Lines and Letters by Growing Book by Book
Cotton Ball Sheep Craft and Game by Tiny Tots Adventures
Mary had a Little Lamb Craft by Powerful Mothering
Jumping with Jack be Nimble Gross Motor Activity by Life Over C’s
Mary, Mary Quite Contrary Pattern Play by Rainy Day Mum
How does our garden grow?-Tips for Gardening with Preschoolers by Capri + 3
Muffin Man Nursery Rhyme Activities by Mom Inspired Life
Nursery Rhyme Letter Writing by Still Playing School