Playing Preschool - Unit 14: Plants

Updated: Aug 15

A Companion Guide to Busy Toddler's Playing Preschool Curriculum


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Planting a Seed

Seeds are the ultimate metaphor for raising children. They start out so tiny and helpless, but with time, nurturing and lots of loving care, they can grow and thrive. Planting seeds is what I strive to do in my parenting when it comes to instilling a love of reading, a passion for learning and trust in Jesus. With the right environment and maintenance, our children will (hopefully) bear the fruit of our family values. This unit allowed us to see that metaphor lived out.


Growth Mindset Meets Hands-on Learning

We decided to take on an extra challenge with this unit and start our own raised bed garden. I am not much of a green thumb and had no idea what I was doing so my toddler and I were learning together, which made it truly authentic. At the time of this writing, we are eight weeks into our growth mindset project and I am actually surprised how easy it has been. We started almost everything from seed when we began this unit; we currently have lots of stuff growing and nothing has died! In addition, it has provided us with meaningful work and lots to talk about while we wait for our first harvest. I am working on a post documenting our experience, but in the meantime, you can check out our weekly updates on my Instagram account.



Building Background Knowledge

If your child is not familiar with the nursery rhyme "Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary" you might want to watch this video of the song before reading Lola Plants a Garden as it makes allusion to the rhyme. Like many nursery rhymes, it has historical and cultural significance, but not appropriate for children, so feel free to Google at your leisure.


Video Links


Suggested Books

*Books with an asterisk are my Top 5 Picks to Add to Your Home Library for this uni


Additional Book List

Books in bold are also suggested books in another unit.


Non-Fiction

Fiction

Additional Resources/Activities

Educational Games and Toys


Activities

  • Developing Life Skills: Grow a garden! Use whatever space you have: a backyard, a rooftop, a butterfly garden, a container garden or a windowsill herb garden. Watching something grow slowly, day by day develops patience and caring for another living thing develops empathy.

  • Field Trip: Visit a botanical garden or nursery. Most of them host community events geared toward children where they can learn about and take home a flower or vegetable or decorate a planter. Or take a trip to the farmer's market to check out all the fresh produce.

  • Read Along Play Along Activity: Choose a vegetable or fruit that is in season and pair it with a book and trip to a U-pick farm. We happened to hit it just right for strawberry season so we read The Little Mouse, the Red, Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear. In the summer you could go blueberry or blackberry picking and pair it with Jamberry. Or in the fall pick apples or pumpkins and read along with Apples and Pumpkins.



  • Sensory Bin: Set up a garden sensory bin using potting soil or dried bean. Throw in some kid-sized gardening tools and your play vegetables or fake flowers and let them dig, plant and harvest. For an extra challenge, throw in some Easter basket "grass" and let them pull the weeds.

  • Water Play: Set up Busy Toddler's Pouring Station but this time include a watering can.

  • STEM Activity: Nuttin But Preschool’s How Water Travels Through Roots

  • Easy Craft: Paper Flower Plates from Little Ones Learn



Scaffolding/Extension

  • We extended this unit by starting a raised bed garden in our backyard and it is still growing strong. Before we planted anything, someone recommended we look into using the square foot gardening method to make the best use of our space. If you are considering starting your own garden, I would encourage you to do so. It may look like a lot of work, but we spent a weekend and less than $100 (my birthday present) building two beds (and could have done it for less without the rocks and border). Currently, I spend about five minutes a day watering and doing some minimal weeding and maybe 15-20 minutes a week fertilizing or planting. If nothing else, it gets us outside for some fresh air while we check on our garden.

Backyard Garden Week 1

Backyard Garden Week 8


What was your favorite part of this unit? What other books did you read? What other activities did you do? Please share your photos and feedback in the Playing Preschool with Busy Toddler Curriculum Facebook Group in Units Plants


Until next time, may your coffee be warm and your toddler be busy!

Up Next: Playing Preschool: Unit 15 - Construction


See Also: Introduction to Playing Preschool with Busy Toddler, A Companion Guide to Busy Toddler's Playing Preschool Curriculum, Unit 1: Apples, Unit 2: Colors, Unit 3: Nursery Rhymes, Unit 4: Clothing, Unit 5: Food, Unit 6: Five Senses, Unit 7: Teddy Bears, Unit 8: Things That Go Together, Unit 9: Community Helpers, Unit 10: Transportation, Unit 11: On the Farm, Unit 12: Weather, Unit 13: Eggs




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