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'Planting a Rainbow' Activities for Your Preschool Classroom

written by: Marlene Gundlach • edited by: Elizabeth Wistrom • updated: 1/20/2012

This wonderful book by Lois Ehlert provides opportunities for plenty of fun activities for your preschool classroom. This lesson incorporates graphing, measuring, science and color names review.

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    Planting a Rainbow Lois Elhert The book Planting a Rainbow tells a very simple story of a mother and a child planting a garden. It goes through what was planted and when, how they ordered the seeds, and what it took to get the garden to grow. They then watch the garden grow into a rainbow of colors. There is a wonderful section with fanned out pages for every color in the rainbow, and each lists flowers that grow in that color. The pictures are very simple, and the colors vibrant. Below are several of Planting a Rainbow preschool activities that you can use after reading this book.

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    Science Activities

    If you can get to this book in the fall, you will be able to plant some bulbs with your class. This provides them with the opportunity to start something in the fall, and then anticipate the bulbs growing in the spring. You can also teach the class about the different ways flowers begin. In the fall, you start with the bulbs. Then in the spring, you can plant seeds and some small starter plants. Each time, following the growth of the plants. You can also invite parents to bring in transplants from their own gardens to plant. This gives each child a personal connection to the garden.

    When taking care of the garden, you can assign students jobs such as weeding and watering. Take the opportunity to reinforce what plants need to grow (sun, soil, water) and what the different parts of a plant are and what they do to help the plant grow (roots, stem, leaves, flower). As you show them how to water the plants, discuss the root system and the job it does for the plant. When you plant seedlings or starter plants, show the students the root system before placing the plants into the ground.

    If you have a garden center in your area, a field trip is a wonderful opportunity to introduce the class the plants. Point out the wide variety of colors and types of plants. See if the recognize any of the flowers from the book (it may help to bring the book along with you). Show them how some flowers come in a wide variety of colors, and how some need shade and some sun to grow best. It may also be helpful if someone from the center can come to the classroom or talk to you students while at the garden center. He or she can talk about plant care and the wide variety of plants that the center sells and cares for.

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    Math and Language Activities

    For younger preschool students, this book is a basic tool for teaching or reviewing colors. On each page there is a wide variety of plants shown, allowing you and the students to pick out the colors. The fanned out section with each color represented reinforces that color and the spelling of the word associated with the color. You may ask parents to send in pictures of plants of various colors and make a class collage. Hang some butcher paper and divide it into sections. As pictures come in, the students can glue them into the correct color section. Having the collage hanging in the room is a constant visual reminder of the colors.flowers 

    As you plant your garden, choose 10 of the plants that you can closely monitor. Label them with plant markers, for example using the numbers 1-10. Make a large graph for the class where you can measure and graph the growth of the plants. On a weekly basis, go out into the garden to measure and record the height of each plant. Then as a class, graph the new measurements. This is a lesson in measurement, graphing, and plant care. If plants are not growing, you can work as a class on a solution. Maybe the plant is not getting enough water or sunlight. Maybe it needs some fertilizer. Make a plan and test it to see if you see a change on the graph in the plant's growth.

    These Planting a Rainbow preschool activities offer a wide variety of ways to use literature in your classroom. Keeping the book out for the students to explore will enhance their experience and help them further apply what they are learning.