Each year I plan our garden and this year is special because Little Bee is old enough to help with the garden preparation. He always appears very happy when he is working outside in the garden. He loves to get his hands dirty in the soil and wet while watering the vegetable plants. I am sure most all children would enjoy these activities and the opportunity to participate in planning a summer garden for kids.
I am going to share several ways that planning a summer garden can be enjoyable and special for kids. First, it's important to introduce the names of the vegetables to the child. This gives the child an opportunity for identifying the shapes, textures, tastes, colors, and patterns of each vegetable by engaging in object to card matching work. In the following activities, I have set up a fun game of identifying seeds and matching them to their corresponding vegetables. All of this identifying work, helps a child to prepare for planning and planting a garden. There are also practical life skills that a child can learn that include caring for the plants and preparing the soil for planting.
This is a simple activity of matching a vegetable to a card. Matching work helps to prepare a child for reading. I used Melissa & Doug plastic vegetables for this matching work with printables from Maitri Learning, LLC. FYI: Real vegetables (instead of plastic ones) can also be used for this matching activity.
I enjoyed putting this tomato tray together for Little Bee to explore the shapes, textures, tastes, and patterns of a tomato. I placed a small tomato plant with little green tomatoes already blooming on its branches onto the tray for touching and sniffing. I also included a whole tomato, cut up cherry tomatoes for tasting, a picture of a tomato, a seed pack, and tomato seeds in a little plastic jar. I talked to Little Bee about each part of the tomato and how all these parts interrelate to each other. This is also a wonderful opportunity for explaining the life cycle of a tomato.
Exploring Vegetables and their Seeds
I set up a tray of vegetables that had visible seeds in them for Little Bee to discover. I displayed cucumbers, corn, tomatoes, and a pepper on the tray. Little Bee enjoyed looking at each vegetable and finding the seeds. He had fun tasting the seeds too! I also included a bell pepper tray with small bell pepper plant for Little Bee to explore.
Matching Seeds to Vegetables
For the next activity, I recycled several seed packet covers and laminated them to create beautiful identification cards. I also used these free Vegetable Cards printables from jojoebi and these Plants We Eat printables from Montessori Print Shop for seed matching work. I filled several small plastic containers up with the seeds of each kind of vegetable. Next, I taped several of the seeds onto the corner of each photo of the vegetable. Then I set up several different trays for Little Bee to match the container of seeds to the seeds displayed on the vegetable cards. Little Bee throughly enjoyed holding the little plastic containers of seeds while attempting to master this challenging matching activity.
Fine Motor Work with Seeds
For the next activity, I encouraged Little Bee to open the seed containers to explore the seeds found inside. He poured the seeds onto his tray and then he used his fine motor skills (pincer grasp) to pick each tiny seed up and return it to the small container. This was a fantastic hand-eye coordinated work and a wonderful opportunity for Little Bee to acquaint himself with the different shapes and sizes of various vegetables seeds.
Practical Life - Preparing the Garden
Finally, we went outside and started working in our garden. Little Bee helped me rake the rich dark soil in preparation for planting our vegetables starts and seeds. He also watered all our vegetables plants with a child-sized watering can. He enjoyed carrying the plants over to the garden and digging holes for the plants.
We still have a lot of work to do in our garden and we will be sure to update you as the summer progresses. I hope this post gave you some fun ideas for how to include your children in planning a summer garden for kids.
30 Summer Activities for Kids
Over 30 kid friendly blogs have joined to bring you awesome activities to enjoy with your kids this summer. Please look through this list and visit your favorites! Pin this post so that you can come back later and use this list as a resource guide all summer long.
Summer Preschool Activities | Living Life and Learning
Free Summer Printables | Montessori Nature
Wet and Wonderful Summer Ideas for Kids | Powerful Mothering
Summer Flower Sensory Bin for Kids | Adventure in a Box
Summer nature art & craft ideas | Messy Little Monster
Summer acts of kindness for kids | Mum in the Mad House
Color Your Summer: Sidewalk Chalk for Kids | Child Led Life
Low Stress Summer Fun for Kids | Mama Smiles
Awesome Backyard Ideas for Summer | In The Playroom
Summer STEM Activities for Kids | Kitchen Counter Chronicles
Top tips for creating a Summer fairy garden | The Gingerbread House
100 Budget Friendly Summer Activities | Something 2 Offer
5 Amazingly Cool Summer Activities for Little Kids | Peakle Pie
How to Make Awesome Summer Juices for Kids | Witty Hoots
Summer Alphabet Relay Obstacle Course | Mom Inspired Life
Summer Lego Ice Rescue | Multicraftingmummy
27 Simple Summer Science Experiments for Kids | Edventures with Kids
Summer Evenings - Family Fun Ideas with young kids | Rainy Day Mum
Summer Survival Guide For Busy Moms and Toddlers | Words n Needles
Celebrate Summer with Sun Crafts! | Artsy Momma
Summer Fun Activities For Toddlers | Adventures of Adam
35 Beach & Ocean Themed Sensory Play Ideas | Golden Reflections Blog
20 Ideas for Summer Fun with Preschool Kids | Bare Feet on the Dashboard
Planning a Summer Garden for Kids | Mama’s Happy Hive
10 Summer Snacks for Kids to Make | Fun-A-Day!
Quick and Easy Frozen Summer Watermelon Pop | Little Bins for Little Hands
Frozen Watermelon Cubes for Fruit Flavored Water | Little Bins for Little Hands
Summer Alphabet Activities | Growing Book by Book
Fun with Zoo Animals for Kids | My Bright Firefly
Summer Bubble Fun For Kids | Just Another Mom
Epic Light Table Ice Legos & More for Summer! | The Natural Homeschool