by Jessica Burko
When my 4-year-old came home from preschool bursting with excitement because his teacher told him the next day was the first day of spring, I knew it was time for some quick thinking and a springtime project. Yes, there's still snow on the ground in Boston, yes it's late March and we're all still wearing winter coats, hats and mittens, but we're forging ahead and starting spring anyway! This art and earth project is perfect for 3-5-year-olds who are getting used to using scissors, learning to read, and handling writing tools.
• seed tray or small containers (cardboard egg cartons would work great!)
• child-safe scissors
• crayons/markers/colored pencils
• glue stick
Step1: choose your seeds
To completely invest my son in this project, I let him pick out the seeds. We spent some time talking about how we would grow the seeds indoors until it was warmer outside, then we would transfer them to our new garden, and that we would grow vegetables and fruit that we would eat. He chose all his favorites and is most excited about "growing Jack-O-Lanterns" and "corn on the cob".
Step 2: make your art
I went online and found free clip-art to make little coloring-book-style pictures for my son to color so that we could mark our rows of seeds, and because I love you so much dear readers, I'm sharing it with you here: Seed Markers PDF. Feel free to use this sheet for your own seed markers or use it as a template and add your own clip-art images based on what you will be planting. You could also just draw pictures of the fruit and vegetables you will plant. The idea is to make it fun for your little one however they best like to make their art.
Step 3: cut and paste
After making the pictures for your seed markers cut them out (we cut to a square shape) and make sure to provide a front and back for each marker. The front and back can be the same picture, or the back could be left blank, or you could use colored construction paper for the back side. Having both a front and back piece of paper helps the stability of your seed markers. Glue the front and backs to popsicle sticks and you are ready to plant your seeds!
Step 4: planting the seeds
We used a table spoon to fill the seed trays with one spoon of soil, then we put in the seed, then added an additional scoop of soil. We've been watering the seeds every day and looking forward to seeing them sprout. For some great tips on starting seeds check out this post from Organic Gardening.
I've got this theory that the more we can all act like it's spring, the sooner spring will actually get here. So please share your favorite crafty spring project in the comments section and let's all pitch in to make an end to winter!