Learning from Home with Tower Garden Pre-K Your Way - 3 Activities for Young Gardeners

"Mamma, did you know tomatoeth are fruith?" asked the five-year-old with the endearing lisp,  quarter-sized chestnut eyes, and shaggy hair to match (and in dire need of detangler if I'm being honest). I asked how he knew, and he told me it's because his brain is big and it knows everyfing. 

I can't take credit for that botany lesson. I assume he picked it up YouTube on one of the many days he has exceeded the recommended screen time since life became Super Mom Vs. Pandemic. We're all doing our best, right? Right. 

Homeschool Rules

This year we transitioned into a homeschooling family for the first time. And I mean we went totally off the grid, so to speak, opting not to do remote learning through the local school system. Add Mom Vs. Homeschool to the list. 

It was a little intimidating at first, especially because it was a new world for us. As this choice wasn't meant to be permanent, it brought about the concern of how homeschool would translate to regular school once my kids return. Thankfully, after joining a few homeschooling groups on Facebook, I was assured the transition back to public school is pretty straightforward for elementary students.  

As an ad hoc preK teacher this year, I've come across two truths: All learning doesn't have to be structured, and if a lesson looks like anything besides a lesson, you'll have better luck. It has been trial by fire for sure. 

One of the biggest mistakes I've been making was one of the most simple ones—I use the word "school work," as in, "It's time to do your school work." I doubt my kids are the only ones who'd give that directive a hard pass. So now I find inventive or at least subtle ways to introduce lesson time:

  • I'll ease into the lesson by asking questions on a related topic (e.g., What is something green we eat with dinner?).

  • I'll tell him I need an assistant to help with very important tasks. As he helps get all the supplies together, his curiosity begins to grow. 

  • I'll simply tell him we're having "game time." 

3 easy ways to teach basic gardening 

Since my five-year-old seemed to be ripe for learning about plants, I decided to run with it. So I came up with a couple of activities that match not only his age but also his energy level. After all, we all know preschoolers are wildly curious and equally imaginative. If they're anything like my son, they also never stop moving. It's as if they're young and carefree... 

These lessons (which you will not call lessons, remember!) can be adapted in a variety of ways—whatever works for your time and your preferences. As parents of little ones, we tend to function like the mayors of small towns in the movies: That is, we're not only in charge of the big stuff but also function as chef, nurse, housekeeper, handyman, etc. So the goal is to keep it simple. Here's to happy homeschooling! 

Singalong 
Pick a song you and your preschooler both like (and make it one you won't mind hearing in your dreams every night for a while). In our house, 90s hip hop, The Beastie Boys, and The Talking Heads are favorites. 

Now put these lyrics to your chosen tune, editing as you please:

You gotta know
The rules
To plant power

So I'm gonna tell you
A fruit comes from a flower!

What else is cool?
Some fruits are in disguise

A tomato is a fruit—
But don't you put it in a pie!

Pound out the Produce

Here, your little one will learn about different fruits and veggies.. 

  1. On six sheets of construction paper, trace circles with the top of a large disposable (recyclable) or reusable beverage cup

  2. Next, draw three fruits and three vegetables on the circles.. 

  3. Then fill each of six disposable beverage cups with a small treat or toy. 

  4. Next, cut out the circles and tape them over each of the cups. 

Set up the cups on a table. When you call out the word "fruit" or "vegetable," your child has three seconds to punch through the appropriate cup to get the prize. 

 

Color Garden

This one is great for a simple combination art and produce lesson. It's a fruit and vegetable coloring sheet that comes from our collection of Tower Garden-inspired lessons. Find the printout here. Kick it up a notch and have your child paint instead of coloring to help them fine-tune their fine-motor skills.

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