Thursday, March 21, 2013

Planting a Rainbow: Recap

Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert is one of my favorite spring books.  When I worked at the Children's Museum of Richmond here in Richmond, Virginia this is the book that we read for one of our classes.  It was one of my favorite classes to teach.  The kids always had so much fun listening to me read this book.  I knew when I planned to do a Spring unit that I had to include this book.

I love how you can use the book for all different age levels.  For babies you can just read it and look and the illustrations.  You can discuss the colors you see and have fun turning the pages.  For toddlers you can have them find all the colors and teach them about bulbs, seeds, and seedlings.  This works really well if you have some actual bulbs, seeds, and seedlings.  For preschool age and all the way into First Grade you can discuss things like "sowing" the seeds, parts of a plant (roots, stem, leaves, flower, seeds), what plants need to live and grow (food, air, water, sun, place to grow), perennials versus annuals, pollination etc.  You can have older children make predictions about whether the characters in the book are planting an actual rainbow or not.  You know best what your child can handle.  If it is a little high for them, at least you are exposing them to new vocabulary and concepts.  There are soooo many possibilities with this book.  I listed a few extension activities in the Lesson Plan I posted on Monday.

We didn't get a chance to head to the local garden center until today so that is why my post is late.  We had a great time.  We brought our book with us and found a bench in the store to sit and read it.  Then we went exploring!  Please excuse the photos.  I didn't bring my fancy camera on purpose (baby + expensive camera + garden center = disaster waiting to happen in my book) so these are all iphone photos.

Momma and daughter snuggling and reading the book. 
We found flowers of all colors. 

We practiced pat-pat-patting them and not pulling off the flowers. 
Some plants didn't have flowers.
We even touched some pots.
I picked her up and twirled her into a tall plant so she could be among the long leaves. She laughed and laughed as I did this.  
More plants!
I pointed out plants with small leaves and plants with big leaves. 
Look at my big girl going on her own to explore :) 
Look at how proud she is of her walking skills! 

I put her up on the table so she could get a good look at some seedlings (like we saw in the book).
Then we checked out the seed packets.
She LOVED shaking them like a maraca   
We spent 10-20 minutes looking at seed packets and shaking them.
 I pointed out the different colored flowers on the outside.

shake shake shake
shake shake shake
shake that packet
shake that packet
we laid them on the ground and picked them back up. Great leg work out. 
We danced as we shook the packets.
We practiced sharing.
I tried to show her a bulb.
She wasn't very interested.
Until she found these giant bulbs.

We also checked out some garden accessories like shoes which I tried on and walked around in.
And sun hats!
We played peek-a-boo with them!
She was really into the gloves.  I was say the color as she touched the different colored gloves.
Then we headed to checkout.
Our spoils!  A pot and some potting soil so we can play in the dirt.
She is getting in her Easter basket a small shovel, mini plastic pots, a trowel, and a kid watering can.  I got all of those things at the Dollar Store or the dollar section of Target.  Once it warms up a bit more we will go outside and dig in the dirt.  I made sure to get stuff that has no fertilizer in it because I don't want her playing in that or accidentally eating it.  I don't want her to eat dirt either but that isn't as concerning as fertilizer.

I wish this March was a bit warmer.  It has been a pretty warm winter here in Virginia but March has been pretty cold.  It is the most snow we've gotten all year too!  Oh well, at least we are building the anticipation for Spring!

How did it go for y'all?  We had a BLAST at the garden center.  I want to go back there on an outing in a few weeks.  Anyone take on the extension activities?  While we didn't make any plant diagrams, I did point out the stem, leaves, and flowers to her.  Maybe next year we will be able to grow a plant and keep a journal of it's growth.  We will probably go back and buy a plant to watch this summer but we will be focusing on watering it and not pulling it out of the dirt or eating the petals.


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