Preschool Garden

If you have a preschooler then you know how important it is for them to have the opportunity to play, right?  I could write an entire post about that subject.  The preschool that I teach at is very play oriented.  A lot of preschools have drifted away from play as a learning activity because they feel pressure for the kids to be at a certain place by the time they get to Kindergarten.  I’ve been teaching 3 and 4 year olds for 3 years now and I can tell you that paperwork and seat work will never benefit a child more than an hour of play with their peers.

With that in mind, our school has started adding a themed area to our playroom each month.  We have 4 teachers that use the playroom and we have divided up different themes for each teacher to put together.  Here are the themes we’ve done so far:

Beach
Camping
Office
Travel Agency
Vet Office
Post Office
Christmas Wrapping Center
Restaurant
Grocery Store

This month it was my turn to do a Garden.  The Garden was also my idea and I had a very clear picture of what I wanted to do.  However, when it came to finding the things I needed to do it and the time to make it work . . . I was pretty frustrated.  So, I developed a new plan of attack and here is the final outcome.

FYI – this WHOLE project cost me about $56 at the Dollar Store…well worth it in my opinion!

This took a lot of trail and error to get right but once I got the first one done I was able to just trace and cut the rest of them.  I did 4 boxes all together.
Originally I was going to cut slits into the boxes and try doing the “Insert Tab A into Slot A” thing . . . but this way seemed to work just as well and was a lot easier.
I couldn’t tell you what that tool is really called but Jerry called it the “Puncture Thing”.  Worked like a charm!
At school, I’ve been asking the kids to plant all the yellow ones in one box and all the red in another.  We have also been “buying” the flowers at a flower store, planting them in the boxes and then picking them to sell to people.  I wish I would have picked up some plastic vases for them to arrange them in!
They really are having fun with it.  In all honesty, it isn’t holding up as well as I had hoped but A LOT of kids are playing with them.  I think my twins would enjoy this at home, too!!!  I may just have to create another box for them and do a small scale of this for them to play with at home!

 I really do think that this is something that you could do with your kids in your own home, too!  Of course, REAL gardens are awesome experiences for children – we grow one and the kids have a blast helping Jerry dig, pick, weed and plant.  They look so proud when they bring me their harvested goodies!  I do think, though, that this is a good activity for small kids to use their fine motor skills (putting those flowers into those tiny holes takes a little effort) and to play, share and even do some learning like categorizing and identifying (mainly colors).

Anyone have any other play centerish things that you do with your kids?  Summer is coming and I could use some ideas!!!  I’m sure that I will be able to find a ton on Pinterest – but I’d also love some personal recommendations . . . things that REALLY work!

Have a great weekend!

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