G is for garden is a fun way to introduce your child to the joy and wonder of gardening, practice letter recognition and improve motor skills.
G is for Garden! At least, at our house it is. I recently started homeschooling our daughter, who just turned three last month. It was overwhelming researching preschool curriculums so I ultimately decided to create my own. G is for garden is one of my favorite themes so far. Your children will love it as well.
Many parents and teachers follow the letter of the week curriculum. Ours isn’t quite that as we don’t spend an entire week on a letter and we also review and repeat letters with different themes to make sure our daughter can recognize the letter, can write it in uppercase and lowercase, and be able to say the letter sound. This may sound like a lot, but it isn’t actually. It really depends on your child though, so don’t feel overwhelmed seeing these pictures. We like to have fun. Learning should be fun and play based at this age.
I ask our daughter what letter and theme she would like to do. Child led learning gives them a sense of control and they feel like they have contributed. She said G is for garden, which was probably influenced by the amount of time we spend in the garden. It sounded like fun to me though so I set off in search for ideas on Pinterest. Some things I make myself, but many of the worksheets are free printables on Pinterest. All you have to do is search the letter you want to do plus the word preschool, example Preschool Letter G for Garden, and you will instantly get a lot of options.
What are some of the things you can do with G is for garden?
So glad you asked! Each week we read books that go along with the theme. We have a large collection of books at home, but we also go to the library each week. I checked out a few books and then we also had some gardening related books. Here are a few books I like that are gardening themed:
- Sophie’s Squash Go to School by Pat Zietlow Miller & Anne Wilsdorf
- Broc And Cara’s Picnic Party by Dave A Wilson
- The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
- If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson
- Oh Say Can You Seed by Bonnie Worth
Children love to paint and our children are no different. Our seven year old even asked to paint on his break from virtual school. To go with our gardening theme the children painted with broccoli. It was so much fun to see the joy on their faces as they painted and dipped the broccoli and then stamped with them. You can use other vegetables from your garden as well. We tried potatoes too. Then of course they started painting their hands, which led to finger painting. Our daughter made a sunflower with finger paint and then I gave her sunflower seeds to glue in the middle. I originally planned to use some of the sunflower seeds from our garden, but they are long gone by now. Luckily we had a spare bag of store bought ones in the cupboard.
Play in sensory bins
Children learn a great deal through hands-on play time. They stretch their imagination and use fine and gross motor skills as they explore the sensory bin. I used dried split peas for this garden themed sensory bin. I had our daughter go on a scavenger hunt to find green fruit and vegetables to put in the bin. She was so excited to search for them all. I ended up making a second sensory bin. I learned a valuable lesson with this one while watching our child eat the dirt. It was made out of Cocoa Pebbles cereal. I probably shouldn’t use anything chocolate again if I want it to last very long. It was funny though. I had her search her play kitchen for more vegetables to “plant” in her little garden. She loved planting and harvesting her crops. I sat with her and talked about the life cycle of plants. She already knew most of it from working in our garden, but it was nice to talk about it. If your child hasn’t had a chance to plant and watch seeds germinate, you can print out visuals or look online for pictures and timelapse videos.
Our daughter is quite funny, as children amazingly are. When she was done playing in the sensory bins, she looked at me and said, “when are we going to do real school work Mommy?”. She wanted to go over to her little table and see what was on that. This is where children will differ. Our son had, and continues to have, no interest in worksheets whatsoever. Our daughter however, loves them. I make sure to print out a few sheets for her. Each week they are the same type of sheet, just with a different theme. They include:
- A large letter with picture of the theme
- A sheet with the capital and lowercase letter to trace and lines to practice writing them
- A maze that leads to the theme of the week, such as a farmer to the garden
- A large letter to stamp with a do-a-dot marker
- Squiggly lines going from one part of the theme to the other to trace
- A coloring page
- A shapes page
- A matching page
- A craft
Again, that sounds like a lot but it can be very quick to find these and print them. Do as many or as few as your child is interested in doing. I like to save what I can after each lesson since we review letters. I put pages in a clear sleeve and let our daughter use a dry erase marker to practice some of the things that can be repeated.
If you rather not print a lot of things, there are plenty of workbooks available at local stores and online. Our daughter loves this Highlights for preschoolers’ workbook.
Take them to the garden
Gardening with children is a very rewarding journey. They are so curious and easily amazed. Our children love going down to the garden each morning to see what has grown. They especially love planting days where they get to dig in the soil. What kid wouldn’t like digging in the dirt?
If you have the opportunity to take your child down to your own garden, over to a friend’s or to a community garden, that would be a perfect hands-on activity for G is for garden week. Our children love to plant seeds. If you don’t have a garden to go to, you can always have your child plant a few green bean seeds in a cup of soil and place it in a sunny window. Green beans germinate in about 7 days. Children can be impatient, so this quick result is always a welcome sight.
There are so many more activities and crafts that you can do. Use your imagination and ask your child what they would like to do. Make learning fun. G is for garden is one of my favorite themes that we have done. Our daughter has requested I for ice cream next so that might be another top pick.