Creating a Sensory Garden

Create a garden where children can interact with plants and stimulate all five senses. Here are ideas for choosing plants with interesting textures, nose-tickling aromas, tasty leaves/flowers, eye-catching displays, or they create curious sounds.

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Pollination games

Pollination can be a rather difficult concept to learn–after all, do the bees eat the pollen, or the nectar?  And why is pollination so important anyway? Well, let’s get our facts down, so we’re all on the same page.  When a honey bee lands on a flower, it uses its long tube-shaped tongue (called a…

Talkin’ trash! (reducing trash and litter)

After these last postings about compost, it seems only natural to teach about reducing trash and litter.  Here are some activities, including poems, coloring pages, online videos, songs, and hands-on explorations, to make this topic fun and thought provoking. Watch a Fascinating Short Video  Watch the teaser video for the movie The Landfillharmonic, where children…

Stem Activity–classic celery dye experiment and some new variations

This experiment is so satisfying because it shows great results in just a few hours.  Demonstrate how stems transport liquid with the classic celery experiment, and then extend the experiment with a couple interesting variations. First off, pick celery with leaves still attached, as it will quicken the process and also show more dramatic results….

Root activity–Grow a sweet potato

Start off with a firm sweet potato from the grocery store.  If it has little buds already, great!  The potato will grow even faster.  I like to start off by asking students if they think the potato is alive (it is).  Then I would ask what part of the plant students think the potato comes…

Ladybug/ Aphid Game

Teaching about ladybugs and aphids is a great jumping off point for so many themes:  good and bad critters in the garden, the food chain, organic pest management.  Aphids are considered pests in the garden as they eat plants.   Ladybugs, on the other hand, eat aphids, so they help our gardens grow.   In…

Seed Dispersal Teaching Ideas

Here is a whole collection of ideas to incorporate into a lesson on seed dispersal.  Students will predict and then test seeds to see how they could disperse.  Additionally, students could watch a video on dispersal, play an online game, and have a choice of a wide range of projects to illustrate their mastery of…

What is Germination?

Read a poem, watch a video, and create a seed germinator to watch germination taking place in the classroom!  This lesson is probably most appropriate for grades k-2. Begin by asking students, “Are these seeds sitting on the desk alive?”  After listening to students’ thoughts, discuss how the seeds are alive, but waiting to grow. …

Roots, Stems, Leaves, Flowers, Fruits and Seeds!

Originally posted on Education Outside at AFY:
Our second and third grade students have been learning all about the six plant parts! Third grade students began learning about seeds by dissecting different fruits. Everyone got to take home neat cranberry bean seeds! One student even sprouted the seeds at home!  Way to go! Second grade students played…

Pollination Games II

So my original pollination games page is by far the most popular posting on my page. With this in mind, I’ve gathered some additional activities and resources for you to use in your classroom.

Fall Cleanup in the Garden

Don’t put away your gardening tools yet! Fall is one of the best seasons for accomplishing many tasks, and right now is the best time to prepare for next spring.

Why Do Leaves Change Color in the Fall?

It’s the perfect time of year to explore why and how leaves change color!  This leaf chromatography experiment makes the answer to those questions a bit more tangible and understandable. Why DO leaves change color? So let’s start off by making sure we all understand how leaves change color in the fall.  Basically, leaves are made…

What to Plant When

I recently came across this useful graphic.  I particularly like the “planting, care, and harvesting” section, although I know the months section will not be accurate for every climate and every country’s growing season (I can vouch that it’s pretty accurate for the east coast and the midwest of the US tho!). More plants that…

Kid-Friendly Tomatillo Salsa (salsa verde)

My tomatillos are ripening, and it’s almost time to make some garden-fresh tomatillo salsa!! Salsa made from tomatillos is usually called salsa verde, or green salsa, and is a staple of Mexican cooking. Having a husband who is a Mexican chef, I’ll send you to his blog for an AMAZING salsa verde recipe made for…

Tomatillos! What are they and how do I grow them?

My tomatillo plants are just BARELY starting to grow fruit, and I’m already getting excited for the salsa I will be making. This week I will simply introduce tomatillos, discuss growing them, as well as connect tomatillos to potential pollination lessons. Next week I’ll have recipes!

Tips to Make Gardening Fun for Kids

Create a class of students who all love to garden!  Here are some tips: Younger students have smaller attention spans; try not to overwhelm them with too large of garden plots, or plants that need extensive maintenance, and expect to spend some of your own time with maintenance tasks that are too difficult for them…

All that fresh basil!

Now that my basil plant has taken off, it’s getting quite huge and is about to go into flower.  To keep basil tasting it’s best, it must be harvested often.  You want to prevent it from going into flower, since it sends all of its sugars (energy) into the flowers in order to produce seeds….

Create a Snail Farm

Snails may be pests in the garden, but they are quite fascinating creatures.  Create a little home for some snails in your classroom, allowing your students to watch and observe the snails in action for a couple days. Start off with a water or soda bottle.  Rinse and dry it out and then put the…

Garden flavored water

  Now that the heat is upon us, I love making flavored waters for a refreshing drink.  They are super easy to make, even with the youngest of students.  And best of all, most kids really love them, even though they are not sweet like juices or sodas.   When I worked with kids, we…