- nonpoisonous indoor plants
- outdoor plants
- strawberry plants and herbs
- potting soil
- large pots and flower boxes
- watering cans
- spray bottles
- Place a few nonpoisonous plants around the classroom. Hanging plants can be used. Bring them down to the children's level. Place plants in large pots and hanging plants out on the playground,too.
- Let the toddlers help water the plants periodically. Talk with the toddlers how the water is food so that the plants can grow like them. Provide spray bottles for older toddlers to mist theplants.
- Plant strawberry plants and herbs, such as mint, on the playground in large pots or flower boxes. Flowering plants can also be used but keep in mind curious toddlers may be tempted to pluck theflowers.
- As an outdoor activity, let the toddlers help water and mist the plants with small watering cans and spray bottles.
- Encourage the toddlers to smell the herbs. As the strawberries appear, let the toddlers taste the fruit. Talk with the toddlers about the color, smell and size of the herbs.
To do again
Say the nursery rhyme "Mary, Mary Quite Contrary" using specific children's names as they help care for their garden.
Make sure all plants used in the classroom and outside are nonpoisonous by checking with a local nursery or information from the state poison control center. Start small with gardening activitiesand expand the garden as you are comfortable with your own green thumb. Toddlers will respond to the teachers comfort level and excitement about caring for the garden.
Survey your home for poisonous plants which include everyday houseplants, such as poinsettias. A list of poisonous plants can be obtained from your local poison control agency. Include yourtoddler in gardening activities that involve three of this age's favorite activities: soil, water, and outdoors. Start simple with some of the above ideas if you do not have an interest in plantsor a green thumb.