I recently took this gardening show on the road, all the way down the hill to the preschool where I planted a salad garden with my daughter's classmates.
The kiddos decorated their milk cartons with paper shaped salad veggies, filled them with dirt, and put markers into the soil where they planted their lettuce, carrot and radish seeds. We also read several books on seeds and vegetables to learn about vegetables and get excited about what will grow in their mini gardens.
It went about as smoothly as you can expect with eight 3-4 year olds and we had to extend it over two days, but everyone was enthusiastic to learn about the plants and get their hands in the dirt. They were very intrigued that the radishes and carrots would grow underground and the shape would be a surprise until harvest time!
M A K E
Empty milk cartons
Small trowels or scoopers
Seeds (we did lettuce, radishes and carrots from @gurneysseeds)
P R E P
1. Lay the milk carton on its side and cut a hole to make an opening at the top.
2. Cut construction paper to make the size of the sides of the milk carton.
3. Cut construction paper into the shapes of salad veggies.
4. Using the magic markers, color the tips of popsicle sticks to indicate each veggie they will plant. (we did purple for green for lettuce, radishes, and orange for carrots)
A C T I V I T Y
1. Pre-decorate the larger pieces of construction paper with veggie shapes. Set aside.
2. Fill the milk carton with rocks and soil.
3. Place the 3 popsicle sticks evenly along the length of the milk carton and make divots in front of each marker.
4. Give children seeds to place into their divots and cover with soil.
5. Glue reserved decorations onto the sides of the milk carton.
6. Have the children water their gardens once they get home and place the carton in a summer window.
In a few short weeks, the little gardeners will have a mini salad, perfectly sized for one small tummy.
A D D I T I O N A L
-read books about seeds, vegetables and/or gardening.
-bring the produce to show the children what their veggies will look like once harvested.
N O T E
-reach out to a local coffee shop and ask them to save their cartons if you will do this activity with a big group.