Sunday, May 27, 2012

Tot School: Gardening

Tot School
~ Peeper is 43 months old ~

A Note To My Regular Readers: I may be repeating some photos or stories that I've already published, but I want to put all our learning activities in the one post that's part of the Tot School link-up.

Tot Schoolers: Welcome! If you enjoy this post, please feel free to stay for a while, and have a look around. I'll give you a fair warning that much of my blog is PG-13, but my Tot School link-up posts will always be G-Rated.

We are just wrapping up our second unit study, on gardening, fruits and veggies.

Peeper's "Veggie Notebook" (as she calls it) includes activities from Homeschool Share's The Carrot Seed LapbookHomeschool Creations' Gardening Preschool Pack, 2 Teaching Mommies' Flower Unit, and Today I Ate A Rainbow's coloring pages and Real Food Revolution Day materials.

Totally bootlegged clip art for the title page.

She loves this activity with a little laminated carrot . . . 

. . . all ready to pick!

Putting the veggies in the basket.

Here's a good example of an activity that I modified so that it wouldn't require any (pre)writing. Originally, she was asked to draw lines to connect each fruit and veggie with where it grows.

That's not happening, so on the facing page, I sketched the four possible answers . . .

. . . and we used fruit and veggie cards that I'd printed, both from Today I Ate a Rainbow (where I got this activity) and other resources.

The first time through, she knew some of them, but not all. After I gave her those answers, when we did the activity again a few days later, she knew them all!

Sequencing by size. She really couldn't have cared less about this one.

After doing some research about fine motor skills, I started encouraging her to use the easel, and to hold her writing implements properly.

She had been pretty resistant to any suggestions about her pen grip in the past, but she suddenly decided to be more open to the idea, and now she knows how to hold it (not quite like in this photo) although it's not yet automatic for her.

After a few reminders, she's now very deliberately turning the pen around to hold it correctly, and self-correcting when she forgets. She'll even say, "Oh, I forgot to hold it like this!"

She sometimes even corrects herself before she's got the cap off, and then tried to get it off while holding it like that. It's not particularly effective.

In this activity, we matched up the rhyming words. This required a lot of guidance and refocusing. She struggled with the same sort of activity in the previous unit, too, even when only given a couple of words to choose from. So, we'll keep working on that skill.

Sequencing the growth of a flower. Yeah, I pretty much did this one for her. I'm not sure if it was too hard, or she just didn't care.

And now, some of our real-life activities.

After having read  Sunflower House several times, we finally had a day with good weather and an empty calendar and were able to get Peeper's very own sunflower house planted!

This was the part of the project that we were dreading, and the part that we weren't really thinking about when we decided to do this: Digging out a trench to plant the sunflowers. This is about five or six feet in diameter.

After we were well into the digging, we realized that we only had a tiny bit of potting soil in the shed, so I got Peeper cleaned up a bit and we ran over to the hardware store for a couple of bags. We dumped it in the trench, the added the seeds.

We started with Mammoth Sunflowers (12' - 14'), then filled in with Lemondade Mix (4' - 5') and Sunspot (18").

We also put a couple of bean seeds in beside each of the mammoth seeds, in hopes that the bean will vine up the sunflower stems and help to fill in the "walls" of the house. And maybe we'll eat some beans.

This is my artist's rendering of what it will look like when it's all grown up.

After that, we did a bit of weeding and clearing in the area that was supposed to be a "wildflower meadow." That consisted mostly of chopping out some big weeds (I actually had done that the day before.) and raking through everything else to just thin it out.

Then we threw down the rest of the potting soil, and tossed way too much wildflower seed all around. It calls for "full to partial sun" but as you can see, this is a pretty shady spot, so we'll have to just wait and see what happens. The seed is a "butterfly and hummingbird mix" so I'm hoping that we get at least a decent amount of growth.

Peeper's also enjoyed the coloring pages from Today I Ate A Rainbow's.

Here, she's added some sunshine, so the carrot can grow better.

We've also been keeping an eye on our garden. As of today, we've got one baby tomato and one baby pepper!

The day that we bought the sunflower seeds (last Monday, maybe?) Shrike and Peeper planted a few in some empty pots that were sitting around, and they are starting to sprout!

Ever since Peeper saw this Sesame Street video, she's been asking to plant a bean seed.

This was her lucky day!

We put some paper towels in a jar.

Put in some bean seeds, and added water.

I've also read about sprouting them in baggies, taped to the window. When I told Peeper about this, and suggested that we do that instead, she told me, in no uncertain terms, that she wanted to grow hers in a jar, like Cody.

So, I suggested that we try both, "And see which one grows better."

Well, she slapped that hypothesis down like nobody's business: "I think the one in the jar will grow better."

Well, we shall see.

Her jar is sitting right beside a window.

And I've got one baggie on the window in the sun, and one on a not-so-sunny wall. 

Next up: Birdies!


  1. Wonderful unit!!! I can't wait to see if she's right.

    And a sunflower house? Way to set the bar high for the rest of us. LOL I really, really can't wait to see how that comes out.

    Popping in from Tot school.

  2. Very cool! Has she read Peter Cottontail yet? I bet she would enjoy it.

    Does she know we have relatives in China? Are you friends with Cousin Lori on Facebook? She doesn't live in China anymore, but she grew up there. She's having a baby in a few weeks, but once she gets all recovered from that, I bet she would think it's really cool to tell Peeper all about China at some point.

  3. We have Peter Cottontail somewhere, but haven't read it in ages.

    Actually, I don't think I ever have mentioned our cousins in China. Nor our Chinese cousins.

    (Note to non-family members: Those are actually two different sets of cousins. One second cousin and his wife have lived in China for many years and raised their children there. Our uncle on the other side is married to a Chinese woman, and their Chinese-American children were raised in Texas.)


What say you?