How does your garden grow?

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By Sally Grayearly years teacher and writer

Create a colourful garden display as a focus for learning about growing plants

child watering flowers

Interactive garden display

Make a collection of books and posters about gardens, garden animals and gardening, such as The Gardening Book by Jane Bull (Dorling Kindersley) and Eddie’s Garden by Sarah Garland (Frances Lincoln). Share them with the children and talk about the range of plants and animals that you might expect to live and grow there. Have the children ever helped to grow anything in their own gardens? Be sensitive to individual circumstances.

Invite the children to help make a large garden display on the wall. Ask the children to choose their favourite items from the books and get their ideas on how they would like to recreate them for the display, for example, with paints, collage materials, felt-tipped pens and so on. Add green backing paper to the display wall and, over time, make the garden grow and expand with plants, trees, flowers and hedges. Encourage the children to make some garden creatures such as worms, butterflies, bees and birds. Attach them at child height, using Blu-Tack®, so that the children can play with them, move them around, hide them and so on. Provide a cassette or CD of bird and garden sounds to use as background music for the display. Place the music player within the children’s reach for them to operate.

Suggested resources

Garden books and posters; cassette or CD of garden and bird sounds; cassette or CD player; green backing paper; assortment of paper and card; collage materials; paints; colouring and drawing materials; fabric in garden colours.

1 The garden centre

Set up a role-play garden centre in your outdoor area

Creative Development

Developing Imagination and Imaginative Play

Development matters: use available resources to create props to support role-play (30-50 months); play co-operatively as part of a group to act out a narrative (40-60+ months).

Early learning goal: use their imagination in art and design, music, dance, imaginative and role-play and stories.

What you need

Group size: small groups. Outdoor play area; tables; till; calculators; soil in tubs; real and artificial flowers; real and plastic vegetables; plastic plant pots; children’s garden tools; spades; plant labels; children’s plant identification guides; seed trays; plants and so on.

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