The month of May is one of my favorites as Winter finally gives way to Spring fully. We have beautiful days filled with blooming flowers and trees, discovering worms and insects, and observing how a tiny seed creates a stem and leaves, vines and vegetables.
We LOVE planting a garden. Each year since we live a stone's throw from the river we have to wait until May to plant our garden. If we try to do this sooner, we get a late frost that kills all our plants. Last year the flooding made us replant twice, but this year we are on track for a bountiful harvest.
We have planted pumpkins, watermelon, tomatoes, cucumber, peppers, cantaloupe, sweat peas, corn, and sweet potatoes. With all the little helping hands it is always a great accomplishment for our plants to make it all the way to harvest time, but we usually do!
Our Garden Theme is intertwined into all our learning activities all month long.
There's not much that children like more than digging in the dirt. They can dig for hours...add a bit of water we have entertainment for a week! Not only do they benefit from using their gross motor skills to build up their digging muscles but they also get to work together to find insects and worms; treasures of the soil!
Our educational partners at Mother Goose Time understand that May is our gardening month and they have sent us books, creative arts, math, and science to go along with all our "hands-on" enrichment. Follow our blog to see all the fun and educational activities we have done inside too!!
Gardening is an amazing opportunity for children to learn about the world around them.
It also "provides the perfect combination of skills and tasks to address your child’s development. For example, gardening is a great physical development activity.Young children can practice locomotor skills, body management skills and object control skills while they move from one place to the other carrying tools, soil and water. They will be moving their bodies using large muscles and using muscles to balance and manage objects too. Fine motor skills such as whole-hand grasping and the pincer grasp (necessary skills for writing) are employed in gardening when children use a trowel or rake and pick up tiny seeds to plant. Further, being outdoors in the fresh air and moving around a lot is a good way to get exercise.
Another aspect of physical development is the sensory stimulation that you can experience in a garden. Water is a critical part of gardening and, if your child enjoys nothing else, playing with the hose or the watering can be a highlight. Feeling the texture of the soil or the plant leaves is also interesting, as is the smell of the fresh garden and its plants.
Of course, most gardens are a visual explosion of colors, tones and shades. If you plant edible plants, this is one of the few areas where you can actually safely employ your child’s sense of taste. Children are often more willing to try a new food if they have been involved in the process of growing it.
Literacy skills can be part of gardening, too. Learning the names of different plants and reading what their growth requirements are on the seed or plant packages is a literacy activity. Another reading/writing activity could be making a map of your garden or your yard and labeling the plants in it. A map of the area that you plant can be really helpful when those seeds start to sprout and you are not sure which one is a weed and which is the vegetable or flower you planted!
Cognitive development is all about intellectual skills such as remembering and analyzing information and predicting outcomes. You can do plenty of that in your garden with children. By asking open-ended questions about what you have already done in your garden and what they think you should do next, you are helping them think through the processes of preparing the soil, planting, watering and weeding. Ask them to tell you about the differences between the various plants you are growing or the different parts of the plants themselves. Show them the entire plant—roots, stem, leaves, flowers and seeds—or let them draw the plant at different stages of growth." - Posted on April 24, 2017 by Kittie Butcher, Michigan State University Extension, and Janet Pletcher, Lansing Community College
We are "digging" everything dirt all month long at Woolsey Academy! Follow our adventures here and on our facebook page!
As always, we wish you well and we hope you get to play today!!
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Life is made of moments...
"There isn't anything more full of hope, joy and peace than a child's smile... It captures the mundane and makes it extraordinary." - LaDonna Woolsey
I am a Mother Goose Time Blogger. I decided to become one after trying their products because I they are comprehensive and serve my mixed age group well. I do receive products to review from Mother Goose Time and do so with my own honest and thorough opinions. For more information, please contact me at Ladonna@woolseyacademy.com