We have been enjoying reading nursery rhymes. If you have been following Capri + 3, you may remember that the kids 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 kids 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
Amanda Boyarshinov says
Lovely! My favorite nursery Rhyme and GARDENING!!! We started our seeds this week and am looking forward to a spring garden! We are trying lavender for the first time. What does YOUR garden grow?
That is great that you started your seeds this week. We need to start some seeds soon too! We always grow tomatoes and other veggies (and some fruit too). We grow kale and make kale chips. We have grown lavender, but not from seed. I love to grow potatoes and look forward to sharing that with our children this year. I also love to plant Zinnias which do well in our climate.
: 0 ) Theresa
Katie Serbinski says
I love that you suggested planting herbs and having your children taste them. I'm saving that idea for when my little guys will be helping me in the garden!!
Thank you Katie.
I think your little guys will love it. There is something magic about tasting herbs from the garden.
: 0 ) Theresa
Mary Catherine says
Wonderful tips, thank you!! I think it is so cool that you did worm composting before the kiddos. One of the younger classes in my preschool has a worm farm that they take care of. 🙂
Thank you Mary Catherine.
I look forward to doing the worm composting with our kids and showing them the ways it benefits our garden while it is mutually beneficial to the worms.
: 0 ) Theresa
Tricia Goodmama says
I don't have a preschooler yet, but I'm definitely going to use these tips with my toddler. We finally have a yard this year, so I'm excited to get out there and plant a garden. Hopefully I won't kill everything!
These tips would work just as well for your toddler. I am sure you will have a great-everything alive and happy-garden!
: 0 ) Theresa
Growing Book by Book says
We are going to start our seeds when we get back from vacation. The kids want to grow so much this year. I'm not sure if we will have enough room!
Hi Growing Book by Book.
That sounds like fun. I think we will plant some things in the ground and others in containers (so we will have 'more' space.)
: 0 ) Theresa
What plants do you recommend starting off with? I have a 2.5yr old and limited gardening experience. Also, we live in Phoenix, AZ. Thanks in advance!
Hi Kimberly. Mint is a great plant to start with. It is fun to taste and it is easy to grow. In the spring, I recommend tomatoes which are easy and fun. Another fun plant to try is potatoes. You can buy the potatoes to start at a gardening center or simply buy the variety you like and let it sprout. It is a lovely plant and later on, your little one can help you dig the potatoes out from the pot. They sell soft potato pots on Amazon and other places to make it easier. Some even have a little ‘window’ on the bottom to make the potatoes easier to access. Small potatoes can be planted whole, sprout side up. Cover the potato itself loosely in soil, leaving the sprout in the outside air to grow. If it is a larger potato with several sprouts, you can cut it into pieces with at least one sprout on each piece and plant the pieces separately with the sprouts up. Green beans are another fun plant for little ones. I hope this helps!