The weather here has been gorgeous. We've had plenty of rain but also lots of wonderful sunshine! ☀️Otto and I have been spending most mornings in our garden or on our back deck doing a little planting. Yesterday we were out there for four hours. Here are four garden and planting trays that we have been using and loving!
Seed Planting Tray. Above is one of my all time favourite gardening trays, a simple seed planting activity. We are using terracotta pots (there are three on the tray, but as they are stacked you can't see them all). I cannot get enough of terracotta pots, they are earthy and lovely to use in the garden. They are also breakable so I really prefer them to plastic varieties. Otto (2.5 years) loves using the labels and marker. If he were just a little older I could put out a word for him to copy onto the label like 'sunflower' but for now he just writes a little scribble. Just because the toddler can't form letters doesn't mean they don't want to or don't enjoy 'writing'.
I'm not going to lie, with a two year old this ends up a little muddy but the tray really helps to keep it all together. When the pots are overwatered I try to make sure they get lots of sunshine to dry out.
Growing Beans in Jar Tray. This activity is almost foolproof. Growing beans in a jar. I have four jars out as I've found the toddler really likes repeating this. The toddler puts the cotton wool in the jars, adds the seed and then waters them. Keep the cotton wool moist and watch the beans grow! We will often use a pipette to water the beans which is great for developing fine motor skills but also reduces the amount of overwatering which may occur. I've included an activity card so my toddler knows what this tray is for. Again with any overwatering, I drain excess water out of the jars when my toddler isn't around.
Paper Pot Making Tray. This is not a tray for toddlers to use independently. It is good for older children, perhaps 5 yrs+. A toddler can assist an adult though and my toddler can use it but his paper pots are very loose. I've cut the paper to size which helps. I've included a sample pot so that my older children can remember what the pots are supposed to look like. I recently saw someone making pots like this using a biodegradable staple at the end. We use a snippet of paper tape at the end to hold the edge down. The tape isn't essential but it helps to keep everything together. We can later add soil and use these for growing seedlings.
Flower Press Tray. This tray is straight forward and is a hit with my toddler. We will often pick flowers together or I will put flowers here that my toddler has given me on our nature walk. This flower press is excellent for building hand and finger strength.
Our bean growing activity in action! I love seeing those little fingers using the mini tongs!
Below is a tray from Westside Montessori School that is a fantastic example for older children. The child can make a paper pot, plant a seed and add the label. All of the resources on one tray. Beautiful!! 🌱