We’ve been busy in kindergarten lately. (Well, kindergarten is always a busy place.) I love setting up different provocations for the kids using natural materials, art supplies, and questions for them to think about. I have a cute little wooden table in my classroom that is the place, kids have figured out, that I set up my displays. They come in, in the morning, and head to the little table right after the unpack their backpacks. There is always something to touch, smell, or explore. This week we had an herb display on the little table.
I love creating a sensory garden at home, and this was a mini sensory garden for our classroom. I showed the kids how to rub the leaves to release the smell of the different herbs. Chocolate mint was the clear favorite. Many kids had a strong response to the different herbs. Some kids really didn’t like many of the herbs, while other kids had a specific plant that they came back to over and over. Eventually, we planted these herbs in planters in the courtyard, but we loved having them in the classroom and kids were very curious about how to use them when you cook. We are in the middle of a cooking/baking unit in the classroom, so we will be snipping a few herbs to add to recipes in the next few weeks.
Obviously, our herbs and planting lead to a new book display. I absolutely LOVE garden books and have been collecting them for the past few years.
Top on my list of favorite books for kids is Grow It, Cook It by DK Publishing. I love this book because it teaches kids how to garden but also what to do with the fruits, veggies, and herbs they grow.
My Garden by Kevin Henkes is another favorite. This is a great book for a reading and writing extension on imaginary gardens.
One more favorite is The Curious Garden by Peter Brown. This one is just a beautiful story about creating your own garden out of a dreary, uninspired, space.
You don’t need a lot of space to grow an herb or sensory garden. A few small flower pots will do just fine. There are so many ways to integrate learning into a gardening unit. There is the science behind the plant, the sensory experience tied to the herbs, the literature that can be found about gardens, and the opportunity to keep a garden journal. Best of all, the kids just love getting their hands dirty and growing their own food.