Toddler Lessons…Making the Most of Their “Spongy Period”: Gardening

You may remember the post from April in which I introduced my son to gardening. I laid out an old shower curtain on the floor of our basement with all of our gardening things and demonstrated how to carefully scoop some soil out of the bag and dump it into each pot. Together, we planted the seeds, covered them with soil and watered them. 

During the process, I explained to my son that plants need soil, nutrients, water and sunshine to grow. We placed the pots by a window and I told my son I would need his help to water the plants each day to help them grow and give us food to eat.

As the months have passed and our plants have been transplanted into a garden, my son still helps me pick vegetables to use for our meals, helps me run out before a storm comes to protect them and assists with daily care such as watering and weeding around the yard. He’s learning responsibility and teamwork. He is literally tasting the fruits of his labour.

There is so much to do with gardening whether you have a large property with lots of outside plants or a few pots of herbs in your home, you can always teach your child about gardening and how things grow.

During the summer months you can get cheap, child sized watering cans that you can fill up for your child to help you water plants or even convert a small plastic milk jug into a watering can by poking holes through the lid. With close supervision, your child can help you water inside plants and herbs or you can allow them more independence for outside plants where it doesn’t matter if they spill some water on the ground. If your plants are important to you, make sure you are always close as I have left my son to watering our plants on the deck and have come back to him driving tractors through my pots!!!!

  

  Here are some activities you can do to Teach your Toddler About Gardening:

  • Plant some seeds.
  • Weed your Garden or Yard.
  • Water Plants.
  • Go for a walk and pick some Wild Flowers to put in a vase.
  • Place a celery or romaine lettuce stem is some water and watch it grow.
  • Paint some rocks to put it pots or a garden (note: you will have to choose between washable paint/markers that won’t withstand rain or permanent that won’t wash off your child easy!)
  • Plant Grass in a cup with a smiley face and your toddler can help you give it a hair cut!
  • Buy a Chia Plant.
  • Print off some pictures of flowers or a garden for your child to colour.
  • Go for a walk and find flowers, smell them, explain how somebody planted seeds and the sun and rain helps them grow.

There are so many activities you can do with your young child to introduce them to the concept of gardening, have fun and teach your child how to make things grow and respect our earth!

Toddler Lessons…Making the Most of their “Spongy Period”: the farm

My son’s first word was tractor, he loves them. We’re fortunate to live in the country and be surrounded by them and my son loves to watch them working in the fields and wave as they go by.

It started that everything was a tractor and it gradually expanded to more specific types such as a digger, grater, bulldozer. With them all working in the fields haying, we decided to expand it even further.


When we drive into town my son now points out the Canola fields and the farmer’s fields. We’ve been talking about bailers and how they cut the grass and take hay bails out of it for the horses to eat.

As well as the tractor side of farming, we’ve also been talking about animals. My son already know his farm animals and the sounds they make but we went to a little farm last week and I had to drag him away from watching the animals. He was fascinated with the turkey and whether it would jump down because we were talking about how they can’t fly…it never got down. We watched the chickens eat seeds and the pig mainly lie around and sleep. I had wanted to take him to a petting zoo which I know he will love but our week was too busy to fit it it, we will definitely be going in the next few weeks though.

We’ve read books about farm animals, baby farm animals and life on a farm. We’ve played with his Farm Animal Finger Puppets, singing Old MacDonald and making all their noises. We’ve played with his toy tractors, digging dirt, taking the animals for rides and cutting the grass. He has a farm animal shape sorter which isn’t good as a shape sorter because you can fit the animals in most holes if you turn them but it’s still lots of fun to have a barn and all the animals.

Like most Toddler Lesson Plans and Activities, I kept these very informal by having a theme to our activities for the week and always being mindful of bringing it up when the opportunity presented itself.

Here are some great activities you can do with your child, depending on their interests.

  • Print off the Farm Animal Colouring Sheets of the Farm Animal Finger Puppets sold in my Etsy Shop located at the bottom of this post.
  • Drive out in the country past fields and talk about what’s growing in them or read a book about it.
  • Visit a farm…there are some great farms open to the public, try to find a petting zoo!
  • Sing Old MacDonald had a Farm.
  • Read books about farms, tractors and farm animals, your local library will have a great variety!
  • Play with stuffed animals, Finger Puppets or any farm like toys your child has.
  • Watch a video, such as Baby Einstein – A Day on the Farm
  • Do a craft for a Farm Animal…there are lots of ideas on Pinterest.

Have fun! Take advantage of your child’s eagerness to learn while spending quality time with them too!

Free Printable

Free Printable

Free Printable

Free Printable

Toddler Lessons…Making the Most of their “Spongy Period”: the weather

Toddlers’ brains are like sponges, I’m talking Bounty like absorbency!!! So why not take advantage of this Spongy Period in their lives and teach them as much as possible?!?! Over the next few weeks, I will be doing mini, toddler friendly lessons and activities about a variety of topics. This week will be weather.

I will focus on one topic each week because repetitiveness will help my son learn and it also spreads out the fun! I have no intentions of sitting my 2 year old down and explaining the weather, I will simply incorporate it into our daily activities and play.

Here’s what it looked like…

Outside:

Being outside is easy, after all, that’s where the weather happens. When we get ready to go out, we talk about what we’re wearing, it’s hot out so we have shorts and a tshirt on. We need to put sunscreen on and wear a hat because it’s sunny out. No, winter boots are for when there’s snow outside, it’s hot so we need to wear sandals.

We point to the sky…blue and sunny because it’s hot, grey means it’s going to rain, etc. I was fortunate enough to choose a week with varying weather so we were able to compare blue skies and grey skies, talk about the wind and we even saw a few rainbows!

After a few days of talking about the varying weather, my son was pointing to the grey sky and saying rain!

My son loves things that are silly so I made artificial snow with water and baking soda, I got the idea from Bath Activities for Kids. I explained how it only snows when it’s cold out but I made pretend snow so we could still play with snow and build a snowman, even when it’s hot. I told him how silly it was and he was sold, he loved it and we made all kinds of cool things…a snowman, snow balls, we threw the snow and squished the snow. I chose to do this outside so we could talk about how silly it is to have snow in the summer (even if we do ice near the mountains and sometimes get snow in the summer!) but as the link shows, this is also a great activity for the bath! But I had other plans for bath time…

Bath Time:

I took all of my son’s toys out of the bath except for a variety of sieves from his bath toys and from our kitchen so we could talk about rain. We made it drizzle and pour. We made booming thunder noises. We sang It’s Raining, It’s Pouring and Rain, Rain Go Away. It rained on his toes, on his knees and on his head when it was time for shampoo. We had fun.

When we were in the car we pointed to the sky and talked about what it looked like. About blue skies with white clouds or dark, grey rain clouds. We read stories about weather and talked about what the people were wearing. We had a few thunder storms and listened to the thunder and yelled “boom boom boom” to make our own thunder noises and watched lightening strike.

We’ve had lots of fun learning about the basics of weather this week, hope you and your kiddo have just as much fun with your lessons!