Make your own story of “What Shall I Put in the Hole That I Dig?” On the chalkboard I draw a hole in the ground and ask the children,” What shall I put in the hole that I dig?” I give them an example the first time (i.e. rock, ball, house, etc.) “If I put a rock in the hole, will it grow into a rock tree?” After a number of silly ideas, lead the children to things that actually grow on trees (nuts, apples, etc.)
For our unit on vegetables, we filled our sensory table with potting soil. Then we added a variety of plastic vegetables, and gardening tools. The kids had a great time working in their vegetable garden!
Pour a small bag of potting soil and a some plastic worms, used in fishing in your sensory table. Add child-size gardening tools. Very surprised kids!
As part of our unit on plants, my class “adopts” a tree. This year, the kids choose a large Maple just outside our playground fence. We visit the tree daily, and have also made a large paper “model” of our tree on one classroom wall. Here are a few of the whole-language activities that we do to make our tree a part of our classroom:
1. Decide on a name for the tree.
2. Take paper and crayons outside to sketch the tree.
3. Hold hands and dance around “our” tree while singing “The Green Grass Grows All Around”.
4. Use paper and peeled brown crayons to make bark rubbings of our tree. These can be taped to the paper tree inside.
5. Brainstorm a list of animals that might live in our tree.
6. Use a piece of yarn to measure the circumference of our tree.
7. Estimate the height of our tree.
8. Lie on our backs under the tree, and use our class camera to take pictures of the tree from this “worm’s eye view”. We’ll frame these later.
9. Dictate and illustrate the tree’s life story, beginning when it was a seed.
10. Put on blindfolds and use only our sense of touch to explore the roots and trunk of the tree. List as many descriptive words as we can to describe each part of the tree.
11. Collect and play with Maple seed “helicopters”. Later, these can be planted in paper cups and taken home.
12. Check back on the tree as the seasons change, and take note of how the tree adapts.
For our garden bulletin board we always add worms. Draw worms the thickness of your finger on brown construction paper make sure they are wiggly looking. My 3 yr olds then practice their cutting skills by cutting their own special worm out. Their is a great worm song called Walter the Waltzing Worm that we use to dance with our worms. Of course the children then name their worms as they place them on the grass that they also cut out (green construction paper) some are way underground and others peeking out alongside the flowers they made. Don’t forget to add a sun made out of the children’s hands, and butterflies and bugs all made by the children for their special garden. Have fun! I usually do this as a weekly theme but it can go on longer as the children add new things they want in their garden.
When we are teaching about seeds and how they grow we read The Tiny Seed. Then the children pretend they are flower seeds that I have planted. I have to cover them with dirt, (Pretend of course), water them, let the sun shine on them for a while and then they start to sprout out of the ground by squatting then they grow bigger by standing then they bud by placing their hands together over their heads and then when I say they bloom their arms spread out and their faces glow. Then I have to pick such beautiful flowers and I use the clothes that they are wearing to describe what type of flower they are. I even have Pooh flowers and Dinosaur flowers. I put them bunched together for my bouquet and then I tell them that I forgot to water them. They wilt down to the floor and I look sad. Then we laugh and start all over again. My little guys love this. I work with children 3-5 years.