The Garden Classroom: Hands-On Activities in Math, Science, Literacy & Art offers children ages four to eight creative garden activities in play & imagination, reading & writing, science & math, arts & crafts, and recipes. The ideas are age-appropriate, fun, and informative including the one we created, story stones. It’s written by Cathy James, the U.K. creator of the popular blog NurtureStore. Find her on Facebook and Pinterest to see more of her crafty activities.
Peek Inside The Garden Classroom
Make Garden Story Stones
We decided to try a reading and writing activity first — no surprise there, right? We picked Story Stones. The idea is to make characters and props for garden storytelling — or even a retelling of a familiar story.
First, we collected smooth stones. (Later, we determined that the lighter colored stones made for better palettes.)
Next we chose our materials. We used permanent markers to decorate the stones. Cathy said acrylic paint makes the strongest images and it’s good to varnish the stones after you’re done. (We didn’t do this.)
Then we illustrated the stones with items and figures of our choosing. My daughter wanted to make sure we were characters on the stones first of all. Then, she wanted things that would be good for the fairy garden she’s making — she made a watermelon for the fairies to eat, a butterfly and snail to befriend, flowers, and so on.
My daughter wanted to make sure we were characters on the stones first of all. Then, she wanted things that would be good for the fairy garden she’s making. She made a watermelon for the fairies to eat, a butterfly and snail to befriend, flowers, and so on.
Cathy suggests alternatively to paint the entire stone in chalk paint – then create temporary drawings. (I LOVE this idea!)
She also suggests using the stones with a group of children. Let each child pick a stone and add to the story based on the stone’s drawing. Isn’t that clever!?
Cathy helps kids learn with hands-on, playful ideas — this is a fantastic resource for your family (and students, if you’re a teacher.)
More From The Garden Classroom
We are excited to do more of the activities in The Garden Classroom.
I am not a natural when it comes to gardening but this book encourages me to take it slow and try what I can.
Cathy writes, “Friends and readers of my blog often tell me they would love to have a garden and grow some of their own food with their children, but they just don’t have a green thumb. (Well, actually, here in the UK we say green fingers.”) Don’t be deterred. No green digits are required because, by and large, it’s nature that does all the growing and fruiting and clever stuff. If you can pop a seed into some soil and remember to water it, you’re already well on the way to your own productive plot.”
Cathy suggests starting a garden with these plants: nasturtiums, sunflowers, potatoes, tomatoes, and lettuce. This is my plan for the end of May when it’s planting season in Colorado. We’ll be using the free Garden Journal pages (among other activities) as well as graphing what grows. (LOVE this idea!) I’ll let you know how it goes. . .