Garden activities for toddlers

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Inside: This collection of preschool gardening ideas is not just about planting, but is also filled with activities related to gardening. Seed exploration, bug houses, bugs made from stones, and more! Perfect for your gardening theme.

The weather is warming up. It’s time to plant! But, you know your little ones would LOVE to help. (Yes, they would!) So now you are wondering about gardening ideas for kids.

Children learn from growing things.

Children can learn new skills, have fun, play and develop self-confidence by spending time in the garden tending plants and growing their own food. Most children enjoy being outdoors and love digging in the soil, getting dirty, creating things and watching plants grow. (Source.)

Ready to garden with your children?

12 of the Best Preschool Gardening Ideas

This collection not only contains ideas for growing plants, but also art ideas, sensory ideas, and outdoor garden art!

Teach your children how to plant seeds and take care of them with some simple tips.

Create a sunflower gardening project by starting your seeds in plastic cups.

For an miniature indoor garden, make a terrarium.

An egg carton makes a nice greenhouse. (Hazel and Company)

Watch seeds grow in a jar. (Little Bins for Little Hands)

Grow plants from food scraps. (Modern Parents Messy Kids)

Use a coffee can to make a bug house. (Research Parent)

Dissect a flower and study its parts. (Sugar, Spice and Glitter)

Explore real or artificial flowers with a garden sensory bin. (Mess for Less)

Examine different seeds with a magnifying glass and compare. (Fantastic Fun and Learning)

Use different colors of construction paper to make a flower garden. (Cutting Tiny Bites)

Draw bugs on stones and use in the garden. (Daisies and Pie)

Dress up a terra cotta pot with thumbprint butterflies. (Upstate Ramblings)

Make a bird feeder out of a juice carton. (Red Ted Art)

Recycle empty water bottles to make colorful wind spirals. (Happy Hooligans)

Play this alphabet activity during your garden theme. (Buggy and Buddy)

Here’s a collection of our favorite gardening books (with a free printable list):

Planning your flowers and trees theme? We’ve done the work for you!

I am so excited to be a co-author of these flowers and trees theme lesson plans.

24 preschool learning activities for your flowers and trees theme, including literacy, math, science, art, fine motor, and more! A great resource for teachers and homeschoolers.

24 preschool learning activities that cover:

Literacy
Math
Science
Fine Motor
Sensory
Gross Motor
Art
Social Studies
Music
Circle Time
Social/Emotional

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10 Inspired Gardening Projects for Kids

Spring has finally sprung! It’s time to get outdoors with your little sprouts and have fun exploring, learning and playing. The garden is a great place to enjoy the best spring has to offer as a family. To get started, check out these 10 inspired gardening projects for kids.

Plastic Water Bottle Hanging Tomato Planters

Bonzai Aphrodite shows your family how to make use of a small space, like a deck or front porch, to produce delicious tomatoes in empty water bottles. At the end of this project, you can say you taught your kids about recycling and a plant’s life cycle at the same time. Score!

Super Inexpensive Herb Terrarium

Feels Like Home offers smart, money-saving tips for creating your very own herb terrarium. Customize this fun project to grow the herbs you use most, and add decorations to personalize the terrarium. This garden craft is so neat, you may find yourself putting one in every room.

Egg Carton Greenhouse

Little kids will love Hazel and Company’s Egg Carton Greenhouse project. With a simple household item and some seeds, you can create a special learning and bonding experience for your mini green thumbs. You’ll even find a super-smart tip to keep this project mess-free when it’s done.

Whimsical Butterfly Feeder

Create magic and fun for your kids by making Mother Rising’s whimsical butterfly feeder. You’ll need a jar, some string, a bit of knot-tying know-how, and the secret ingredient: butterfly food! Then it’s time to watch the garden for signs of hungry winged creatures.

Garden in a Glove

To find a project that helps kids learn about seeds, it doesn’t get much simpler than Zweber Farms’ Garden in a Glove. This fun and educational activity is ideal for sprouting gardeners who have never seen a seed up close before. And it’s perfect for you because mess is minimal.

Adorable Painted Garden Markers

Any kid old enough to hold a paintbrush can help with this sweet gardening project: creating painted garden markers from stones. Adventure in a Box shows you how to make comical smiling strawberries, concerned carrots and silly squashes; all you need are rocks, paint and a sense of humor.

Multipurpose Homemade Sprinkler

What could be better than an outdoor project that serves an important function in the garden, but also provides hours of fun for little ones? Housing a Forest made a homemade sprinkler using a plastic bottle, some tape and a drill. Genius! But we must warn you: unstoppable laughter ahead!

Earthworm Motel

Fact: Kids love searching for bugs and worms. Green Kid Crafts offers the perfect project for housing the slimy guys your mini bug lovers find. It’s an Earthworm Hotel, the Four Seasons of the worm world, featuring dirt and water. What more could a worm, or a kid, ask for?

Sponge Grass House

Everyday kitchen sponges become an inspired gardening craft with Wonderful DIY’s Sponge Grass House. Kids will adore this gingerbread house meets Chia pet activity. G-g-g-guaranteed!

Cheerios Bird Feeder

What kid doesn’t love Cheerios? Or watching birds? Combine these two peewee passions and you have 366 Days of Pinterest’s Cheerios Bird Feeder project. Future ornithologists, this one’s for you.

Gardening with young children helps their development

May is the perfect time of year in Michigan to start a gardening project with your children. Gardening with children provides the perfect combination of skills and tasks to address your child’s development. For example, gardening is a great physical development activity.

Young children can practice locomotor skills, body management skills and object control skills while they move from one place to the other carrying tools, soil and water. They will be moving their bodies using large muscles and using muscles to balance and manage objects too. Fine motor skills such as whole-hand grasping and the pincer grasp (necessary skills for writing) are employed in gardening when children use a trowel or rake and pick up tiny seeds to plant. Further, being outdoors in the fresh air and moving around a lot is a good way to get exercise.

Another aspect of physical development is the sensory stimulation that you can experience in a garden. Water is a critical part of gardening and, if your child enjoys nothing else, playing with the hose or the watering can be a highlight. Feeling the texture of the soil or the plant leaves is also interesting, as is the smell of the fresh garden and its plants.

Of course, most gardens are a visual explosion of colors, tones and shades. If you plant edible plants, this is one of the few areas where you can actually safely employ your child’s sense of taste. Children are often more willing to try a new food if they have been involved in the process of growing it.

Literacy skills can be part of gardening, too. Learning the names of different plants and reading what their growth requirements are on the seed or plant packages is a literacy activity. Another reading/writing activity could be making a map of your garden or your yard and labeling the plants in it. A map of the area that you plant can be really helpful when those seeds start to sprout and you are not sure which one is a weed and which is the vegetable or flower you planted!

Cognitive development is all about intellectual skills such as remembering and analyzing information and predicting outcomes. You can do plenty of that in your garden with children. By asking open-ended questions about what you have already done in your garden and what they think you should do next, you are helping them think through the processes of preparing the soil, planting, watering and weeding. Ask them to tell you about the differences between the various plants you are growing or the different parts of the plants themselves. Show them the entire plant—roots, stem, leaves, flowers and seeds—or let them draw the plant at different stages of growth.

Finally, working together on your garden with your children is togetherness time. You build bonds with children and create memories from your experiences in the garden. While your children are learning a lifelong love of growing things, you are learning more about your children—how they think, what they like and dislike and how capable they really are. Your plants can create a beautiful environment, whether they are in a garden, a raised bed or a pot, and you and your children will enjoy every stage of the process.

For more ideas about activities and articles on child development, academic success, parenting and life skill development, please visit the Michigan State University Extension website.

Gardening to Enhance Early Childhood and Help Children Grow

By Dr. Deborah Bergeron

Outdoors is an essential place for children’s learning. It can and should be a rich part of your program’s daily curriculum delivery. Being outside improves health and supports children’s overall development. They learn about their world by observing, exploring, and interacting with its natural elements. While outdoors, children often engage in complex imaginative play and much needed physical activity.

Providing quality outdoor space connects children—and us—to nature and the outdoor world. Intentionally planning the outdoor area leads to exciting opportunities that engage children in meaningful tasks and projects. While “built” playgrounds consisting of play equipment are the norm, they are not required or by themselves adequate. Children’s work and play thrives in well-designed areas that may include hills, vegetation, and natural climbing opportunities, such as partly buried log balance beams. The play area can reflect the program’s natural climate, whether it is temperate, tropical, arid, or cold. It can provide shade and offer shelters from wind or rain as needed.

Working with children and families to create, build, plant, and tend gardens is another great way to connect children and families to nature. The garden, like the play area, can align with geographic areas. Programs with multiple sites can find a centralized area for the garden and support ongoing field trips by each of their centers. Urban sites can create rooftop gardens or use raised beds and containers to naturalize concrete areas. Reach out to community partners, such as gardening centers or local farmers, for ideas and support.

Gardening supports holistic learning. Below are examples of the many ways gardening can support young children’s learning across the various Head Start Early Learning Outcomes Framework (ELOF) learning domains.

Perceptual, Motor, and Physical Development
Children are tactile and sensory learners. They breathe in the fresh air and scents of plants and flowers. They experience the elements of weather and seasons. They practice balance by moving their bodies across grass and paths, through sand and soil, and over hills and valleys. They develop motor skills to hold and use tools. Growing herbs and produce can encourage healthy eating habits that help their bodies grow.

Language and Communication
Reading about gardening and talking about the growing process can expand children’s vocabulary. Rich conversations support their understanding of the world and enhance their cognitive abilities. Gardening offers lots of chances to write. Children can draw images and scribe labels to mark the various plantings. They can graph the heights as plants grow and chart the differences of leaves and flowers.

Cognition
Being outdoors and gardening helps children get a closer look at wildlife and the lifecycle of plants. They observe the textures of tree bark, flower petals, plant stems, and leaves. They notice and compare the shapes, sizes, and weight of seeds, foliage, and produce. They solve problems as they figure out ways to pry away rocks and clear rubble. They use scientific reasoning to predict which seed will grow what vegetable. This is exciting and interesting work for young scientists and mathematicians!

Approaches to Learning
Starting and tending a garden encourages curiosity. Adults can wonder with children and watch what happens after planting seeds. The tactile and sensory experiences of gardening can help children self-regulate. The feel of the soil and smell of the earth may bring comfort. Gardens can help children begin to work independently as they plant seeds or pick produce. They practice patience as they wait for seeds to sprout and experience the benefit of delayed gratification as they wait for produce to ripen.

Social and Emotional Development
For young children, gardening can support emotional functioning as they express delight or disappointment when plants thrive or struggle. They can work with adults and peers on various tasks and, with practice, begin to do more of these independently.

For expectant families, starting seeds can begin a conversation around what it means to take care of something else. Learning about the individual needs of a plant can introduce the idea of understanding the individual needs of others.

Imagine the immense sense of satisfaction for children and families as they taste the delicious foods they planted, cared for, and harvested. Whether you create a large bed or intimate potted garden with children and families, think of all the ways you help them have fun and grow!

Resources on Gardening with Young Children

Use the following resources to discover the benefits of gardening for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.

  • Childhood in the Garden: A Place to Encounter Natural and Social Diversity explores the important role of the garden in children’s learning.
  • News You Can Use: Outdoor Spaces offers ideas on how to create outdoor spaces that are engaging for infants and toddlers. Learn to set up spaces for families using community resources such as parks, gardens, and nearby schools.

Resources on Nature-based Outdoor Spaces

It’s important to be outside with children and families. Use the following resources to create nature-based outdoor spaces that inspire children’s curiosity, exploration, and discovery.

  • Affordable Settings and Elements: Ideas for Cost Effective Solutions shares ideas for easy-to-find materials to naturalize and enrich children’s outdoor play spaces.
  • The Nature-based Learning and Development video series and resources can help you plan successful nature-based activities that support children’s math, science, and language and literacy development.
  • News You Can Use: Take It Outside offers ideas on how to plan for time spent outside with infants and toddlers as well as support their learning.
  • Use the Outdoor Play Space Assessment tool to rate play spaces or to create new ones:
    • Infant and Toddler
    • Preschool
  • Spending Time Outdoors Matters for Infants and Toddlers! is a six-minute podcast that explains the benefits of infants and toddlers spending quality time outdoors.
  • 10 Tips to Enhance Your Outdoor Play Space will help bring your outdoor space to life and provide endless play and learning opportunities for children.
  • 25 Easy Ideas for Nature Play for Early Childhood Centers offers easy and affordable suggestions to enhance nature play, including common materials and plants for outdoor areas, even limited spaces.

Dr. Deborah Bergeron is the Director of the Office of Head Start and the Office of Early Childhood Development. This blog was first published on the Early Childhood Learning and Knowledge Center (ECLKC).

Developmentally Appropriate Gardening for Young Children

By Vicki Stoecklin

Adults already know the joys of gardening, a hobby that has seen an explosion of interest in recent years. But we’re just starting to understand what the experience of gardening can mean for children. Whether based in a neighborhood or at a school, childcare center or summer camp, we’re finding that children reap benefits from sowing seeds and helping plants grow. New programs have sprung up to introduce young children to gardening, supporting program goals that are similar among program types and the ages of children served. These programs – and yours if you choose to incorporate a garden into your programming – achieve goals that include environmental stewardship, personal growth/social skills, an integrated learning environment, nutrition/health, science education, practical living skills and just plain FUN.1

How the goals for your gardening program get implemented will depend on the ages of the children in your program. Developmentally appropriate gardening programs base their activities on sound principles of child development and learning. These principles are based on years of extensive research with young children and are used by professionals in the field of early education. While many current gardening books on the market provide a variety of different types of activities, they give very little support to teachers or horticulturists on how to understand the developmental needs of children and how to adapt activities to meet children’s needs.

Principles of Developmentally Appropriate Gardening

The first principle – and an important foundation for developmentally appropriate gardening – is that children are active learners. The best teaching occurs when the emphasis is more on joining the child in hands-on interaction, play and discovery than on imparting knowledge. Children have a natural curiosity that requires direct sensory experience rather than conceptual generalization. The tendency of adults is to create activities from the adult perspective rather than finding ways to adapt adult activities to children’s needs. If we as adults fail to provide an engaging hands-on experience for children, they will find their own, often inappropriate, way to interact with the garden. I have experienced this phenomenon many times in the children’s garden where I volunteer. When we do a garden tour, if it does not include enough “hands-on” experiences like stopping to collect, touch, taste and smell, I quickly lose the interest of the children and they find their own way to interact with the garden, like balancing on the garden rails, running through the beds and wandering to the next available space.

The second principle of developmentally appropriate gardening is that development occurs in children in an orderly sequence during the first nine years of life. All domains of development-physical, emotional, social, language and cognitive-change in a predictable way. Knowing typical child development for the age span that your program serves will provide a framework to guide teachers and horticulturists in preparing the learning environment and planning realistic goals and objectives. Age-appropriate gardening activities take into account children’s differing cognitive capabilities and psychological needs.

The third principle is that experiences and activities that stimulate children’s development should be presented in increasingly complex and organized ways. For example, children below age seven or eight are extremely visual in their orientation to the world, partially because, depending on the age of the child, they do not read or read well. A pitfall is to rely too much on verbal explanations of concepts rather than using visual representations of the same concepts, such as with pictures. I made this mistake myself with a group of eight-year-olds, and I failed to use a visual prop when I asked them to make rows for planting. They did not fully understand the concept of rows, much less know how to implement it in the soil as a team working together. Short-term memory and information processing is improved in the six-to-eight year olds in comparison with preschool children, but these skills are far from mature. For example, the adult capacity for short-term memory is seven chunks or bits of information.for preschoolers, five chunks of information, while 7-year-olds can usually retain six chunks of information.2

A fourth principle of developmentally appropriate gardening is that children need to be able to practice their newly acquired gardening skills. Since research shows that children’s development occurs more rapidly with practice, how can we expand our gardening scope to include others who influence the child’s choice of activities? How can horticulturists support teachers in the classroom and how, in turn, can teachers support parents, who determine what children do at home? Activities chosen and shared with teachers and parents must not only include information on the activity itself, but why it is important and how it can be implemented. For example, it’s not enough to send a child home with a seed, you should also include an explanation about what children learn from planting seeds, a small baggie of potting soil and maybe a peat pot or information on what other types of recycled materials could be used as a pot. Many parents would not have the time or money to buy soil or pots, but may participate in the activity if it is fully explained to them and they have the resources at hand to do so. Developmentally appropriate gardening looks at how to support the child within the context of the classroom and family.

The last principle is that children have preferred or stronger modalities of learning. A variety of activities will support children with the contrasted learning styles of visual, auditory and tactile. Howard Gardner has taken this concept a step further by identifying at least eight kinds of intelligence in humans. The multiple intelligences include linguistic, logical-mathematical, musical, spatial, bodily kinesthetic, intrapersonal, interpersonal and naturalistic (the ability to read the natural environment). A variety of activities will allow children time to use their preferred modes of learning and also provide time for them to develop in areas where they might not be as strong.

Goals of Developmentally Appropriate Gardening

Now that we have explored the philosophy of developmentally appropriate gardening, let’s go back to our gardening goals and more fully explore how these goals can be implemented for different age groups.

The first important goal of a gardening program is teaching environmental stewardship. Environmental education needs to start at an early stage with hands-on experiences with nature.3 Our tendency as a society is to assume that learning starts with public school, however, research clearly shows that value formation begins in children at ages two, three and four. It’s difficult to teach children regard for nature at seven or eight if they haven’t had the chance to fully understand what the concept means. Experiences with nature have taken on new meaning in our society, where children at home or at school have very little opportunity to explore the wonders of plants, bushes, trees and flowers. Many schools and child-care facilities are asphalt jungles, and many new homes have little landscaping beyond sod lawns.

Additional research in the new fields of eco-psychology and evolutionary psychology shows that if children do not have time to explore and fully understand nature, they are at danger for developing what is known as biophobia, an aversion to nature. I see this phenomenon manifested at the children’s garden where I volunteer. Whether the children come from the suburbs or the inner-city schools, they have little to no understanding of the natural world. Their first impulse, when confronted with some natural element like an insect, is to first be afraid and then to kill whatever they have observed. Children must be allowed time in their early years to interact with nature and living elements before they can understand it well enough to want to preserve it.

A second goal of a gardening program is to provide activities for children to practice personal growth and social skills. Children are so proud of all of their accomplishments in the garden, even if it is as simple as watering. Many teacher-directed public schools provide very little opportunity for children to work together, although the skills of creativity, problem solving and teamwork are needed in the real world. The garden provides opportunities for children to work together cooperatively as a team to solve problems.

The third goal of a gardening program is to provide for multidisciplinary, active learning. Gardens are unsurpassed in providing a hands-on approach to seeking information, observing changes and learning skills. Gardens are constantly changing and highly attractive learning labs. While most teachers and horticulturists tend to stick to science and ecology lessons, the garden can also be used as a springboard for math skills like charting, mapping, graphing and counting; reading and writing skills like dictation, creating signage, storybook making, and reading books; social studies skills like foods of other cultures, feeding the homeless, map-making; and art skills like designing the garden, identifying colors and patterns, creating drawings, painting, papermaking and creating collages. Each of these garden activities will be based on the differing capabilities and needs of the age child for which it was created.

A fourth goal of a gardening program is to teach about nutrition and health. Children love to try new foods, especially when they have grown the food themselves or at least been involved in collecting the food source. A gardening program allows children the opportunity to make food choices based on new experiences.

A fifth goal of gardening programs is to provide opportunities for science education. Children can learn about interdependent plant and animal needs, photosynthesis, seed production, pests both harmful and beneficial, and composting.

The last two goals are really the most important. Gardening is fun and is a skill that can be used later in life in many ways. I have received thank-you letters from some of the children who come to the children’s garden in the summer. The letters often speak about starting gardens at home now that their interest has been sparked, but the best part of the letters is that all the children talk about how much fun they had doing simple things like tasting fresh beets or cherry tomatoes, digging a sweet potato, picking berries or just watching the fish in the small pond. But, I think that my new friend Cherie says it more eloquently:

“Dear Vicki,
I had so much fun! The cherry tomatoes were the best! I thought the beets were kind of good. I never realy like beets that much. I’m going to ask my mom to have my own gardon. If she says yes I’ll use the seed I picked.”

Thanks,
Cherie
2nd grade

As someone who loves to garden, I’ve found that their enjoyment is equal to my own, in getting to introduce young people like Cherie to the pleasures of digging and planting and harvesting. That enjoyment, like the program goals, is something that is true wherever adults provide children the chance to interact with nature.

Footnotes:

  1. Ocone, Lynn, The National Gardening Association Guide to Kids Gardening: A Complete Guide for Teachers, Parents and Youth Leaders, New York, Wiley Science, Editions, 1990.
  2. Bredekamp, Sue and Copple, Carol, Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs, Washington, D.C., National Association for the Education of Young Children, 1997.
  3. Moore, Robin C. and Hong, Herb H., Natural Learning: Creating Environments for Rediscovering Nature’s Way of Teaching, Berkeley, CA., MIG Communication, 1997

Vicki L. Stoecklin is the Education and Child Development Director with White Hutchinson Leisure & Learning Group, a Kansas City, MO firm, which specializes in design and consulting for children’s environments including children’s museums, children’s leisure and entertainment sites, schools, child care facilities and outdoor environments which use nature. Vicki has a Master’s degree and twenty-three years experience studying and working with children including children with disabilities. She can be reached at voice: +1.816.931-1040, fax 816-756-5058, Missouri relay (TTY) 800-735-2966 and e-mail.

Is it spring yet? I mean I know it is technically spring but I was in Chicago last week in the snow?! Even if you are still walking through snow to get to your classroom you can make sure you are learning all about spring with these fun hands-on spring garden activities. If you want even more make sure you check out our Spring Garden thematic unit, it’s colorful, flexible, and will do the planning for you so you can relax and do what preschool teachers do best; make learning fun for your students!

Flower Sticky Wall – great sensory experience!

Vegetable Garden Sensory Bin – this was a huge hit with my class and it is so easy to make!

Giant Sunflower Craft – you could even make these the same height as your students ( just skip the stem part and use green ribbon the as the stem).

Cutting Nature – fine motor and nature all in one!

Gardening For Letters – you can do this in a sensory bin but it is much more fun in a garden!

Sense of Smell Circle Time – exploring flowers and graphing all at once!

Nature Smash Painting – get colorful and messy naturally!

Fine Motor Flower Tray – a classroom free choice favorite!

Hands-On Reading Tray – The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Garden Vegetable Printing

Fine Motor Flowers Math Tray – Free printable too!

If you want more including printable free choice activities, circle time lessons, book list, and even a printable finger play check out our Spring Garden Thematic Unit!

Gardening Preschool Theme

This is a full gardening preschool theme for Preschool children. You can plan an entire week around the activities.

SONGS, FINGERPLAYS, AND GROUP TIME FUN

Nursery…
Arrange a trip to a nursery. Ask the employees to show the children blooming plants. The employees should tell why the plants bloom and what will happen to the plants after they bloom. Have the employees explain how to care for plants. You might want to buy a plant for your classroom.

Planting Seeds…
Purchase several packages of different types of seeds. Read the directions on the seed packages to the students and allow them to plant the seeds in soil-filled paper cups. Be sure to mark each cup with the type of seeds inside. Have the children observe the seeds daily and water as needed. Each day, have the children describe what they see happening to the seeds.

Rain Gauge…
Purchase a rain gauge from a hardware store or make one from a clear container by marking inches along the outside with a ruler and permanent marker. Place the gauge outside and support it so it will not topple. Have the children check each morning for overnight rainfall, or after a rainstorm or shower during the day. Graph the amounts of rainfall for the month.

This is the Way We Plant the Seeds…
(Mulberry Bush)
This is the way we plant the seeds,
Plant the seeds, plant the seeds.
This is the way we plant the seeds,
Early in the springtime.
Other verses:
This is the way we
dig the hole, put in the seeds, cover the seeds, water the seeds, check the seeds.

Little Wiggle Worm…
The Eensy-Weensy Spider
The little wiggle worm (wiggle pipe cleaner worm)
Went crawling underground. (wiggle worm under hand)
Down Came the rain; (wiggle fingers downward)
Soon mud was all around. (open arms wide)

Rain filled the tunnels (open hand; move fingers together)
And pushed out the little worm. (push worm through other hand)
So the puddles on the ground (make an O with hand)
Were the only place to squirm. (wiggle worm into O)

Garden Tools…
Show the children items that you would use for gardening. Allow them to guess the name and use of the tool. Extension of the project would to place item in a box and have the children identify the item by just using their sense of touch to identify the item.

Wheelbarrow Races…
Of course, you must have the traditional wheelbarrow races.

Sweet Potato Vines…
Insert toothpicks in a spoke fashion around the middle of a sweet potato.

Rest the toothpicks on the top of a jar, with the bottom half of the potato in water. Place in a lighted area & watch the vine & roots grow.

Parts of a Plant

  • Roots – absorbs water and nutrients, anchors plant, transports nutrients, & stores food
  • Stem – transports water and food
  • Leaves – soaks up the sun’s energy, makes food
  • Flower – produces seeds
  • Fruit – holds seedSee Rest of Activity

Sprouting Seeds

Hands on science activity where the children can see the changes in sprouting seeds.

From Caterpillar to Butterfly in Your Garden
Printable cards

Giant Magnetic Plant Life Cycles on Amazon

  • Realistically detailed jumbo magnets
  • Help students visually explore the life cycle of plants
  • Model the life cycle of a bean and apple right on the white-board
  • Includes 12 write and wipe pieces and activity guide
    From Seed to Plant Development on Amazon
  • Have hands-on demonstration pieces of how a plant grows from seed to germination, seedling, and green bean plant.
  • Recommended for ages 4 and up.
  • Comes with educational information in three languages on each stage of development.

ART TIME FUN

Seed Squiggles..
Gather several types of seeds, wax paper, string, and glue in squeezable bottles. Have the children squeeze glue onto wax paper to make designs approximately 4” to 5″ long. Have them sprinkle the seeds onto the glue squiggles. Tell them to leave the extra seeds on the paper until the glue is dry and then shake the excess seeds into a bowl. Have the children gently peel their seed squiggles from the wax paper. Tie a string to each squiggle and hang from the ceiling.

Sun Flowers…
Have the children cut their paper plate into the shape of a sunflower and then paint it yellow to make ‘flowers’.

When the plate is dry put glue on a plate and glue sunflower seeds on the middle of their plates. Attach them to green paper stems to create the leaves of the plant.

Cupcake Liner Flowers

Popcorn Flowers…
Pop popcorn and place handfuls of popcorn in plastic Baggies and add a different color to each bag of powdered tempera paint. Shake well to distribute paint all over the popcorn Cut stems and leaves out of green construction paper and glue them to tagboard. Glue on the colored popcorn to make spring flowers.

Book Choices

In the Garden

A cute book that tells the story of a little boy who spends his time planting a garden. He tends his garden by pulling weeds and watering it. When play distracts him, he notices that his seeds have sprouted. The book has a nice message of hard work, patience and being in touch with our earth can bear something fruitful. Buy It Here.

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The Magic School Bus Plants Seeds: A Book About How Living Things Grow

Join Ms. Frizzle and her class on their next adventure! The characters make learning about science fun and exciting! Jump aboard The Magic School Bus and learn how living things grow. Purchase Here.

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Flower Garden

A young girl and her father board the city bus to purchase a garden. They purchase flowers to bring home and lovingly plant in a window box. The mother comes home to see her Birthday surprises. The story is simple, but extremely captivating. The children can’t wait to see the next step. They will ask you to read it again! Purchase Here
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CENTERS

Observing Seeds and Bulbs…
Place several types of seeds, leaves, and buds on the science table along with magnifying glasses. Allow the children to use the magnifying glasses to observe the small details of the seeds, leaves, and buds. Ask them to describe the details they see.

In The Sand Box…
Outdoors provide buckets, watering cans, empty seed packages, shovels, hoes etc. and have the children pretend to plant their own garden.

Sorting Tools…
Place out a variety of tools for the children to sort into three groups, gardening tools, household, woodworking. You may want to include some of the following hammers, screwdrivers, hoes, rakes, spoons, wrenches, spatulas ect. Have three separate laminated cards one with seeds, one with furniture and the other a picture of a food item. Have the children place the items on top of the correct picture.

Sorting Game…
(click on picture for directions and printable)

Flowers In The Sensory Table…

Provide flower pots with numbers written on them. Children must “plant” the correct number of flowers.

Sensory Table…
Provide plastic worms (found in the fishing department), and potting soil and allow the children to play freely.

Sensory Table Close Look At Soils…
Have the children examine several types of soil. these could be Sand, clay, potting soil, topsoil, etc….. Have the children use a magnifying glass to look closely at the soil. Let them touch it to see how it feels.

One day fill a clear, see-through container with sand, clay, and topsoil. Add enough water to cover all the soil. Give the mixture a good stir and ask the children what they think will happen to the mixture tomorrow. You should have different soil levels according to the weight of the dirt and clay.

I’m seeing more sunny days lately and finally the chill of winter waning which means only one thing – spring is open season! I love springtime with the kids because it symbolizes growth and new beginnings. Not to mention, more reasons to be outdoors before summer’s hot days are upon us. Each year, the kids and I plant a few new plants in our little backyard wooden planters. If you don’t have access to a yard or planters, there are plenty of ways to get your kids learning about plants and seeds, indoors and out. Here are some of our favorite ideas to get you started!

Kid-Made Macrame Planters (via hello, Wonderful)
Planting succulents are a great beginning planting project for kids as they’re sturdy plants that are easy to take care of. Find out how to make colorful yarn macrames to hang them up – a fun, fine motor skills activity to learn how to tie knots.

Make Mini Terrariums (via hello, Wonderful)
Host a terrarium party for kids to make their own mini terrariums with magical fairies and characters in them. The kids loved making these and they last forever near a window with some regular watering.

Make a Fairy Garden (via Nurture Store)
An outdoor fairy garden is a special way to encourage imaginative thinking and play. This tutorial walks you through the countless ways to make a magical garden to house your child’s creative thinking.

Plant and Flower Learning (via A Little Pinch of Perfect)
Explore, dissect, learn and write – these are all the skills your little ones will practice in this sweet outdoor project all about plants and flowers (free printable included).

Eggshell Seed Starter (via A Simple Pantry)
Easter’s just ended so you may be sick of seeing eggshells, but this one’s too simple and cool not to share. Let kids plant their own seeds with these adorable natural planters.

Dandelion Activity (via Playful Learning)
Focusing on one type of flower is a fun way to dig deep into learning about plants. This imaginative activity leads to the creative exploration of all things dandelion (what are those white fuzzies called and why do they fall off?). A free printable is included to record your observations and learning along the way.

Make Plantable Seed Paper (via Alpha Mom)
Here’s an environmentally friendly activity you can feel good about doing with your kids. Find out how to recycle paper into pretty plantable seed paper you can hand out as gifts or plant to grow new ones!

Seed Science Experiment (via Pink Stripey Socks)
This sweet and simple science experiment encourages eating fruits and examining different seeds in a bright and artsy collage you can make along with your kid.

Happy Painted Pots (via Classic Play)
Kids may be more interested in planting their own indoor flowers if they have a happy pot they can paint! I love these cheerful faces for inspiration for you and the kids to get started.

Garden Sensory Bin (via Plain Vanilla Mom)
For toddlers or little ones who can’t quite get messy with real plants and dirt, this colorful garden sensory bin has everything they need to make a pretend play garden and get them ready for the real thing soon.

Seed Bomb Necklaces (via Babble Dabble Do)
How fun are these “necklaces” you can make to adorn any garden? Find out all about “guerilla gardening” with the kids and make these colorful beads for the earth!

Make Seed Bombs in Eggshells (via Inner Child Fun)
Here’s another clever version of making seed bombs, this time in blown out eggs to scatter seeds and watch them grow in unexpected places! A fun spring activity you can make right along with the kids.

What are your favorite planting activities to do with the kids? Take a look at more kid-friendly spring projects here!

Do you know what Fall is perfect for? Some fun seed activities for kids! All of our plants have gone to seed, so we are finding so many treasures outside. It is amazing to see all of the different types of seeds.

I thought I would compile a list of some seed activities for kids and share it with you. And so I have! I hope you find an idea or two just perfect for you and yours:

There is so much fun and learning to be had in exploring, creating, and just plain playing with seeds! Here are 19 great ones!

TONS of Seed Activities for Kids

Sorting and Comparing Seeds This is a simple and classic seed activity for kids – and it can be done in so many different ways! Here we created a sensory bin, played hide and seek, did some matching, and some sorting too.

Germinating Seeds Using paper towel and a glass jar make exploring seed roots and sprouts so easy and exciting for little gardeners.

Dissecting a bean seed – Buggy and Buddy. This Science exploration is such a neat idea!

Playdough invitation to play with seeds – Fantastic Fun and Learning. Kids can learn so much simply through play. Playing with playdough and seeds is a great way to learn about imprints, sizes, and shapes.

Plant cress seeds in Eggs to make Eggheads – Nurturestore. These Eggheads are so cute – I may make some myself … and perhaps let the kids do some too …

Seeded Caterpillars – Todo Manualidades (Translation bar in the sidebar of the sight) This seeded caterpillar is so neat. You could use different seeds in different containers to add in some comparisons too!

Giant Sunflower Craft – No Time for Flashcards. Crafting with seeds is a great way to explore some different sensory materials!

Seed Mosaics – PreKinders. These seed mosaics would be great for creative little ones! And ideal for developing fine motor skills too.

Crafting with seeds – Little Stars Learning. Here is another craft using seeds – full of sensory exploration and play.

Seed Sprouting – Housing a Forest. Here is a neat twist on sprouting seeds!

Create pictures with seeds – The Idea Room. Let the creativity flow with this neat seed activity for kids!

Create a nature or discovery table with seeds – Teach Preschool. We love making nature tables. This discovery table is such a great way to let preschoolers explore seeds all on their own.

Sorting Leaves and Seeds – Inspiration Laboratories. Adding in some sorting – and outdoor exploration!

What seeds grow without soil? – Mums Make Lists. Here are 25 seeds you can use to grow without soil!

Do Seeds need Soil and Light to Sprout? – Feels Like Home Blog. This science experiment my little ones would LOVE! I think we will have to try this one too!

Remove Seeds with Tweezers – Itty Bitty Love. This is such a great way to develop fine motor skills. And patience.

Handmade seed paper for planting – Sesame Seed Designs. What a sweet gift this would make, and full of learning to create as well.

Make Seeds Jump! – Teaching Mama. Can you make seeds jump in water? You will be able to after reading this post on Teaching Mama!

Discovering Seeds in Nature – My Nearest and Dearest. And one of my personal favourites … get outside and explore plants going to seed first hand!

Should you be looking for even more seed activities for kids, Fantastic Fun and Learning has compiled 35 Seed Activities for Young Kids!

With all of these seed activity for kids floating around in my mind I have a new challenge. Trying to save some seeds to plant. Willpower. Or perhaps I should just place another order? Yes, I believe the second would be the wiser option ….

Want to LOVE being home with your little ones? The secret is all in the rhythm! Find out more in my eBook:

Thank you so much for reading friends. I hope you are having a wonderful week!

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