Inside: This week we are setting up the toddler and preschool classroom for the gardening theme. We will have lots of hands-on, playful learning activities that relate to nature and gardening, including a flower market!
I love it when our themes seamlessly join, such as when we move from our butterfly theme to our gardening theme.
Both are related to nature in the spring, when we bring some the outdoors inside, while also going outside to explore.
Our gardening theme not only invites our toddlers and preschoolers to play with gardening activities, but it also gets them involved in actually planting seeds that they will take care of and eventually take home.
Setting Up the Classroom for the Gardening Theme
You can see all of our themes here.
Gardening Theme Dramatic Play
We turned our dramatic play area into a flower market!
We have a nice collection of artificial flowers, gardening gloves, market tote bags, and watering bins.
Because our toddlers and young preschoolers love to carry anything around in bags, these food market bags will be a huge hit. (Once again, because so many different teachers contribute to our stash of materials, I have no idea where these bags were purchased, but we love them! They are very sturdy and have been loved by many of our students over the years.)
Related: 25+ Dramatic Play Ideas
I took our puppet stand and turned it into a flower market stand.
I created the Flower Market open/closed sign that hangs at our flower market’s entrance.
If you’d like a copy of this sign, scroll down for the link!
We had so many flowers that we decided to extend them into our block area for a flower sorting color activity.
We turned our train table into a flower sorting station, where one of my favorite flower books, My Garden, is displayed.
Science and Nature
We placed one of our shelves in front of a sunny window so it can be used as a classroom garden. Once we plant our sunflowers, they will sit on this shelf so they can be observed.
We also have some food sorting going on, with a basket for vegetables and a basket for fruit.
Related: Hands-On Spring Science Activities
I also placed lima beans in a clear pocket with a wet paper towel, so we can watch what happens.
I purchased this window greenhouse over a decade ago, but you can easily make your own with a sealable plastic baggie.
(This can also be done in a jar, which you can see here.)
We also have an area for our caterpillars, which arrived towards the end of our butterfly theme last week. We will have fun observing how much they grow each day before they go into the chrysalis stage.
In case you are wondering, we ordered our caterpillars here and got them quickly with our prime membership.
We have our cups ready for planting our mammoth sunflowers!
You can get your own set of free labels, and see how we go through this planting process, here.
On our science table, we will be sorting parts of the flower.
You can read more about this activity over at Munchkins and Moms.
I bought some flower baking cups last year (again, I didn’t keep track of where they were purchased and can no longer find them) and knew they would be perfect for a gardening sensory bin.
I added my favorite square plastic woven baskets for sorting, and dyed rice brown for extra scooping and pouring. After adding pom poms and flowers that were leftover from this spring math activity, I found some alphabet stones that one of my co-teachers made.
Read more about this sensory bin: Alphabet Flower Sensory Bin for Toddlers and Preschoolers
I glued more of the flowers mentioned above for a play dough gardening activity.
I just love these terra cotta pot shaped silicone baking cups! The children can press play dough into the pots and then pretend to plant flowers in them.
I reserved 4 of the flower cups from the sensory table and taped them to our light table, as well as some hand-cut stems from green paper.
I cut a blue, yellow, orange, and green circle out of paper and taped them in the centers of the flowers. I then found matching colored pom poms. The children can sort and transfer the pom poms to the matching flowers.
I took some of the pretend flowers from our flower market and added them to our easel. I will fill the bowls with tempera paint so they can dip the flowers into them and paint on the paper.
Don’t forget to grab your free Flower Market sign!
Come see how our classroom looks for spring!
Flowers and Trees Lesson Plans
I’m so excited to be one of the creators of these hands-on flowers and trees lesson plans for toddlers and preschoolers!
Each activity is easy to follow and includes modifications and adaptations to meet the needs of all learners.
For more information, click on the graphics below: