Sensory bins are such great teaching tools. For this one, I wanted it not just to look like a spring garden but also to feel like one, too. So we stuck with earthy natural colors, all natural contents (minus the tongs and pots), and talked about how we can (and will) plant some of the beans from the bin and track its growth. The big lima beans we used are big enough to be a choking hazard for little ones. Remember to only use contents that fit your children’s specific level of development.
- Gather your materials. You will need some dried split peas, large dried Lima beans, dried orange lentils, dried white beans, mini bow tie pasta, and some small flower pots. You will also need a tub – this one was a dollar at Walmart.
- Start by pouring the dried beans and lentils into the tub.
- Next, add a handful of butterflies (the dry bow tie pasta).
- Add some mini flower pots and explore.
- My son was fascinated by the lima beans, as they are not a staple on our dinner table.
- You can simply scoop and pour with the flower pots.
- Or grab some tongs and sort and count.
Books About Gardening
The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle is a story about a tiny seed who unlike the other seeds from his flower makes it against all odds to continue the cycle of life. I really enjoy this book and love how it shows all the obstacles along the way for a simple little seed. Carle’s distinctive collage will keep your children marveling at the illustrations while learning about plants.
The Gardener by Sarah Stewart Is a really touching book that I would happily recommend for school age children. It”™s a beautiful story about a little girl during the depression who is shipped to the city to work in her uncle”™s bakery because both her parents are out of work. She is obviously nervous but knows that it”™s something she has to do. She takes a little of the country with her in seed packets. Then, she plants these in the city, while she learns about baking and becomes friends with her uncle’s employees. This is more a story about making the most of hard times. It would be a great way to talk about the great depression with your child.
There are so many little things in the illustrations by David Small to talk about, from a picture of FDR to traveling by train and the general sense of sadness. In the end, it”™s a warm-hearted book that I can”™t wait to share with my son in a few years.