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Use a Garden Theme to Help Your Preschoolers Learn Math, Science and Language

written by: lhunsicker • edited by: Sarah Malburg • updated: 1/5/2012

This is a fun and hands-on themed pre-K curriculum. There are stories and songs about growing things as well as science activities where the children get to grow things and see the root systems. Language and math have also been incorporated into fun activities about growing and counting things.

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    Circle Time

    Ask the following questions for discussion:

    1. Have you ever had a garden?
    2. Did you grow flowers?
    3. Did you grow fruits or vegetables such as corn, tomatoes, or watermelon?

    Stories:

    1. The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss
    2. In My Garden: A Counting Book by Ward Schumaker

    Songs:

    • "Plant a Little Seed" (author unknown)

    Lyrics and motions: Plant a little seed in the cold, cold ground (squat down pretend to plant). Out comes the yellow sun, big and round (put arms above head like sun). Down come the raindrops soft and slowly (dancing fingers). Up comes the flower grow, grow, grow (jump as flowers emerge).

    • "The Gardening Song" (author unknown)

    First you take a shovel, a rake, and a hoe. Plant a little garden. Plant seeds in a row. Water them and weed them through all the summer heat. And, then you'll have some flowers or vegetables to eat.

    Nursery Rhymes:

    Mary Mary quite contrary,

    How does your garden grow?

    With silver bells and cockle shells

    And pretty maids all in a row.

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    Sneaking in a Few Lessons

    Math:

    Veggie Garden Game: From felt, cut out five or more of each different veggie shapes such as carrots, radishes, squash, and cucumbers. Mix up the shapes, and place them in a pile. Let your children take turns sorting the veggie shapes by kind and “planting” them in separate rows on a flannel board or a carpet.

    Arts/Crafts:

    • Garden Coloring Page: http://www.first-school.ws/t/coloring-pages/flowers/garden.htm
    • Vegetables Coloring Page: http://www.first-school.ws/t/coloring-pages/vegetables/group-2.htm

    Color and Create a Garden Mural: Cut a variety of flower shapes out of three or four different colors of construction paper. Also cut pictures of the same colors of flowers out of seed catalogs if available. Mix up the flowers, and place them in a box. Then invite your children to sort the flowers by color and glue them together on a large piece of brown or green paper (all the red flowers together, all the blue flowers together, and so on) to make a colorful garden. Display the garden mural in your room when the children have finished.

    Language:

    Fruits and Vegetables Word Searches (http://www.edhelper.com/English_themes_Vegetables.htm): Use word searches to reinforce vocabulary.

    Picture and Word Matching: Make word cards of vegetables and flowers, and make cut out pictures of the vegetables and flowers. Then have the children match the word to the picture and then glue the pairs on a sheet of construction paper.

    This game builds sight word recognition and build background knowledge and helps in making connections such as text to world.

    Science:

    How a Seed Grows:

    1. The seed is planted in soil.
    2. A root grows down into the soil.
    3. The stem pushes up toward the sun.
    4. The stem grows and leaves unfold.

    Fish Tank Garden: Show your children how things grow by planting seeds in a fish tank. Simply put rocks on the bottom of the tank (for drainage), add potting soil (from a local hardware store), and let your children plant seeds in the soil. Keeping a picture/word journal would be beneficial during the growing process.

    Plastic Cup Garden: Another garden growing idea is using clear plastic cups to grow plants in as gifts. Let the children see how plants sprout and then form root systems. Wet paper towels, and put them in clear plastic cups. Finally sprinkle radish seed on the paper towel until the seeds are clearly visible. Set the cups in the sun, and keep the towels moist. You will have growth in no time. (You can also use traditional soil and seed in the cup.)

    In both of these activities as well as through the use of the journal students are gaining knowledge by being able to see the root systems as well as the plants as they grow and go through the stages of growth.

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    Snack Time

    Snack time can be fun during this theme. You can let the students choose what veggies they want in their own salad, or just serve different fruits and veggies and create graphs of who likes what. This is also a great time to let them try different kinds of veggie dips and dressings while eating the fresh veggies.

    Of course, you can set up the graph with veggie cutouts and write the children's names on the cutout they like and then attach the cutouts to a board. Or, you can just write their names next to the words of fruits and veggies they like.