Gardening with Children

Well, spring has officially arrived! We’ve been enjoying some gardening books as we wait for the right time to plant our annual grape tomato plants. This is a great way for our family to practice a bit of a green thumb while living in a large city. My husband and daughters enjoy each part of the process: going to the gardening center to purchase supplies, planting the seeds and tending to the tomato plants throughout the summer. This is a special daddy-daughter activity that I particularly appreciate because I love fresh tomatoes! 🙂

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Planting tomato seeds in April 2015.

Do any of you plan to garden this year? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

As you prepare to garden – or choose to pass! – here are 3 fun gardening books to enjoy with your children or students:

Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert

This beautiful book shows how plants grow using straightforward language for young children. A medley of colors are shown in the illustrations and some pages include labels of common flowers. The pages turn in a lovely way to create a rainbow. This would be a great book to incorporate to a thematic study on gardening or plant life.

Lola Plants a Garden by Anna McQuinn

One of my favorite picture books for young children is Lola at the Library. Here is a companion book by the same author-illustrator team. Lola and her mom work together to plant a garden and decorate it, too. Then all of Lola’s friends come to enjoy the delightful garden!

Bumpety Bump! by Pat Hutchins

Follow along with a girl and her grandfather as they go through the garden with a wheelbarrow! My favorite part was seeing the roots of the various plants and bushes in the illustrations; my children and I were able to point to them and discuss how plants grow.

Best Ages: pre-k – 1st grade

 

Teaching the Five Senses

Hooray for Hoppy! by Tim Hopgood tells the story of a bunny who is eager for spring to come, leaving his burrow and uses his five senses to determine if spring has truly arrived. My daughters appreciated the cheery, colorful illustrations, while I appreciated the clearly defined five senses presented in a fun way.

At the end of the story there is a clear diagram of the 5 senses paired with an illustration from the book that exemplifies each sense. My daughters and I reviewed that each time we read the story, a helpful educational tool that cemented the topic in their mind without being too repetitive or boring.

For more books and reading activities that incorporate the five senses, see my previous posts Introducing Helen Keller and Helping Children Cultivate Thankful Hearts.

Best Ages: pre-k – 1st grade

For Parents:

  • After reading the book with your child, point to the different parts of your body as you review the five senses (i.e. point to your mouth for tasting and your eyes for seeing). Ask your child to point to those body parts, too, and repeat each of the five senses.
  • Gather together some items from the house and put them in a bag or box. Ask your child to pull one item out at a time, then decide which of the five senses they would use for that item. (For example, apples can be tasted and a soft scarf can be felt.) Explain that sometimes we can use multiple senses at the same time!
  • Play this fun learning song to reinforce the five senses.

For Teachers:

  • Play this fun learning song to introduce the five senses. Then ask students to listen for each of the five senses as you read the book.
  • Hold up some items and ask students which sense they would primarily use to interact with that item. For example, hearing for a CD or tasting for an orange.
  • Create a printable book of the five senses. Review as a class and if desired, assign as reading practice, place in students’ individual work folders or assign to weekly book bins.