Kid Activities
1000's of Ideas for Childcare Professionals & Teachers!

Gardening Theme Page 1

December 14, 2011 17:49 by Barbara Shelby

Page 1 consist of  'How' to Plant and Grow, Experiments, Worm Farms in bottles, and Community Service Ideas.

Page 2 is loaded with activities for Art, Crafts, Games, Snacks, Songs and Jokes...The following ideas  on both pages have been collected from about the site for anything to do with gardens/gardening)

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CONTAINER PLANTING 

Deciding WHERE and WHAT to Plant...

Contain your plants. Many vegetables and flowers grow well in either indoor or outdoor pots. Once your plot or pots are chosen, help children begin researching what to plant. For speedier and more certain results, plant seedlings instead of seeds; however, children will miss out on the excitement of seeing that first sprout peeking through the soil.

With container gardening, you control the soil and drainage, and you can avoid most garden pests. In 3- to 5-gallon pots, you can grow beans, carrots, peppers, tomatoes, corn, broccoli, cabbage, kale, leeks and even melons.

Pots as small as 4- to 6 inches are fine for growing peas (choose shorter peas, ones that grow to about a foot), lettuce, spinach and Swiss chard.

Choose medium size pots for beets, eggplant and cherry tomatoes. Of course, all of your pots will need plenty of sun and water

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MAKE A CONTAINED OUTDOOR GARDEN... in a children's swimming pool!
Here's a good idea if you can't dig up a plot for a garden!
   1.  Get a a small swimming pool and be sure to punch holes for drainage.
   2.  Fill with dirt---plant seeds, or small flowers, water, fertilize and watch the flowers grow!
   3.  The kids will love to work their "garden"

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REAP WHAT YOU EAT!

Children often want to plant seeds left over from fruits (peach pits, apple seeds, watermelon seeds). If your climate is conducive and you have the space, try planting some peach pits in a corner of the yard. In about three years, some tasty fruit may appear.

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GROW SOME EDIBLE PLANTS AND ADD THEM TO YOUR COOKING WITH THE KIDS!

Be sure to ADD your 'child-grown' goods to... soups, salads, beverages and desserts!

DID YOU KNOW IT'S SAFE TO EAT:
Peonies, pansies, nasturtiums, dandelions, day lilies, squash flowers, elder flowers, carnations, violets, marigolds and sunflowers?

DO NOT EAT:
Wisteria, holly, bird of paradise, hydrangea, oleander, poinsettia or philodendron.
Source: parenthood.com

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GARDENING FUN!

GROWING POPCORN IN A BAGGIE
Instructions: Take a plastic zip-loc baggie, put cotton balls in it and saturate cotton balls with water. Put popcorn kernels into the bag, seal it and tape to a window. Add water as needed and watch the plants grow. Transfer to potting soil later. (It doesn't take much to get a popcorn kernal going!

My grandson had a kenal laying on its side on the sink--in just a drop of water. In a couple days it was sprouting a small leaf and stem! (Barb)

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MAKE A POTATO HEAD PLANT

1.  Cut off both ends of a potato.
2.  Stand the potato upright on one of the flat cut surfaces and scoop out a hole in the other end.
3.  Carve out a face on one side of the potato.
4.  Have the children place two cotton balls in the potato’s scooped-out top.
5.  Let them water the cotton balls and sprinkle them with grass or alfalfa seeds.
6.  Place in a sunny spot and watch his hair grow.

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MAKE A LIVE BLOOMING NECKLACE
Materials Needed:
Film Container
Cotton Balls
Yarn
Flower or Vegetable Seeds and Screw Eye Hook

Instructions: This works great with the clear containers.
1. Put two-four cotton balls into the container.
2. Tuck in about a few seeds between the cotton balls and the outside of the container, so that you can see them. Large seeds work best. Peas, Cantaloupe, etc.
3. Add a few drops of water, just until cotton balls are damp, but not soaked and not enough to puddle water on bottom of container.
4. Use a screw-eye with a medium size eye on it and screw it through the center of the lid. Put the lid on the container tightly. 5. Braid three pieces of yarn long enough to go around the child's neck and slip over the head.
6. Thread yarn through the screw eye and tie in a circle.
Kids like to wear these necklaces and watch the seeds sprout and grow inside the container. If you time this right, you can plant them into starter pots when they get too big for the container, or outside into the garden.

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 PLANT A GARDEN TO ATTRACT BUTTERFLIES! A list of plants that attract adult butterflies:

  • Aster
  • Blanket Flower
  • Day-lily
  • Phlox
  • Sunflower
  • Verbena
  • Black-eyed Susan
  • Butterfly Bush
  • Milkweed

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WONDERFUL IDEA!

PLANT A CIRCLE OF TREES... It'll take a while to form--but will be wonderful when it does!
In the January issue of Exchange, Rusty Keeler contributed the article, "A Spring Playscape Project: Building a Tree Circle", which he introduces with...  "If you are dreaming of adding nature to your yard, this project may be perfect for you. The Tree Circle is a green gathering area for children made by planting trees in a circle.

• For children... the Tree Circle becomes a magical place for dramatic play, quiet retreat, or lively nature exploration.

• For teachers and parents... it becomes a shady grove for snacks and stories.

•The trees create a sweet spot that changes during the seasons and grows over time. A beautiful addition to a child’s life — and yours too!" You can read the instructions of the tree circle in its entirety. Click here

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PLANT A RAINBOW
You can grow a blooming rainbow by planting curved rows of different-colored flowers. For the best effect, use plants that have similar heights.

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GROW THINGS (Horticulture)

•  Grow different types of beans in wet cotton and plastic bags; tape the baggies to a window and some in a closet.  Observe and photograph (or draw) sprouting once a week. Discuss differences in growth patterns and what plants need to grow. Measure and graph plant heights.

  Plant a garden and eat harvested vegetables.

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 GROW GREEN BEANS  

 Have each child plant their own green beans. It's a great way to introduce children to gardening and the connection between food and the earth.

You need...bean seeds, small garden pot (3 inch across) some soil and water. You will also need a place  to put the pot where it will get 4-6 hours of sunlight.

Fill the pot with soil; make a small hole using the little finger about 1/4 inche deep--put in the bean-- cover over-- water. Place the pot in a sunny spot and watch it grow. Be sure the planter has drainage and be sure to place a saucer to catch the excess water... If children are younger, end the activity with reading JACK AND THE BEANSTALK!

 

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SWEET POTATO VINE #1
Need: One healthy sweet potato; 2-litre, clear soda bottle; three tooth picks or wooden skewers, water, clean stones or gravel.

Easy Instructions:
1.  Cut the top off your bottle (start cut with a sharp knife, then use scissors).
2.  Place stones or gravel in bottom of bottle.
3.  Suspend your potato, narrow end down, into the bottle. Use toothpicks, punched into potato and resting on sides of bottle, to hold in place.
4.  Fill bottle with water so that at least half of your potato is submerged.
5.  Your sweet potato vine should show new roots within a week or two. Leafy purple sprouts will appear shortly after. Use a magnifying glass to see tiny root hairs and to examine little sprouts. Ask students to PREDICT what will happen next.

TIP: A sweet potato purchased from a natural foods store or farmers' market may sprout sooner than one from a supermarket--because it's less likely to have been sprayed with a sprout inhibitor.

EXTENSION IDEA:
Before you prepare your experiment, ASK students what plants eat
. The general answer to this question is "nutrients collected from soil by roots." But what about plants grown in water? Students may guess that there are nutrients in what appears to be pure, clear water. Are there enough to support a whole, big plant?

WHAT IS YOUR VINE EATING?

A sweet potato is a root tuber, a fleshy root that stores food for a plant and produces adventitious shoots or shoots growing from unusual positions--in this case, out of the sides of the root.

What's happening to the potato, itself?  Your vine will continue to grow for months if you are careful to replenish water and/or change it when your bottle becomes cloudy.

You may wish to plant your sweet potato outdoors in the spring, after danger of frost. It may not survive but, on the other hand, you may find a small crop of sweet potatoes in the fall. Dig up the plant and use one of the new potatoes to grow another vine.

 

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 SWEET POTATO VINE #2
1.
  Using four toothpicks have child suspend the vegetable on the rim of a jar or mug filled with water.
2.  Make sure the bottom half - the pointed end - is under water.
3.  Place in a sunny spot and change or add water as needed.
4.  In a few days, roots will form below the water. And, two to three weeks later, leaves and stems will sprout from the top.
5.  Continue to grow the plant in water or, after a month or two, pot the sweet potato in a houseplant potting mix.
6.   Keep the soil moist.
7.  The stems are weak, so help children tie them to strings, wire or a stake.
8.  Feed once a month with a balanced water-soluble fertilizer such as 20-20-20. As the vine grows, cut it back a few inches to force the plant to grow bushy. Some are treated with heat to keep them from sprouting on grocery-store shelves, but most grow roots in a matter of days after being placed in water.

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GARDENING SCIENCE EXPERIMENTS

PLANT GROWTH IN LIGHT VERSUS COMPLETE DARKNESS

Plant two seeds each in their own clean cup with potting soil. Cover one with a black bag or a box over it. Only open it to water it and then re-cover it immediately. Plant the other one and place it near a window or under a grow light.
Ask what the children predict? After 2 weeks---see what happened!

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SPROUTING SPROUTS

 1.  Take a small zip-lock bag and using a needle, punch a few holes in the bottom seam of the bags.
2.  Get some alfalfa or mung bean seeds and place a teaspoon of seeds in each bag.
3.  Zip the bag closed and have children place the bag in a bowl of warm water.
4.  Soak the seeds overnight.
5.  The next day, take the bag out of the water and let it drain; have it sit in indirect sunlight the rest of the day. For the next few days, have children dunk the bags in water for a few seconds and then drain and put back in indirect light. 6.  On the fourth day, have your child set the seeds IN THE SUN.
Have fun watching the sprouts turn green.
7.  BE SURE TO USE THE BEANS! When ready eat the sprouts by sprinkling them on top of a green salad, on a sandwich or on top of cream cheese spread on crackers.

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MIGHTY SEED: Learn about: exothermic reactions- Observe the power of seeds when you try to limit their growth.
Materials:
Clear plastic cup
5 tablespoons of Plaster of Paris
2 or more tablespoons of water, Plastic spoon for mixing, Dropper
3 soybeans

1. Put the plaster of Paris in the plastic cup
2. Add 2 tablespoons of water and mix.
3. Continue to add drops of water until the mixture has the consistency of a very thick milkshake.
4. Push the soybeans into the plaster until they are covered and then smooth the surface.

Now, explore! What do you think will happen to the soybeans? Make regular observations. What happens? Why?

5.  The next day add a tablespoon of water to the cup and continue to make observations. What happens? Why?  What's Going On?

  • Seeds require moisture and warmth to germinate. In this case the seed absorbs moisture from the plaster mixture.
  • As the seed absorbs water it increases in size and applies pressure to the surrounding plaster. This force, combined with the strength of the germinating sprout, causes the plaster to crack and allows the shoot to grow up through the plaster.
  • This strength and ability to grow in adverse conditions allows plants to survive in a wide range of environments.
  • You may also notice that when water is mixed with plaster the cup becomes warm. A chemical reaction which gives off heat like this is known as an "exothermic reaction." Source: cosi.org

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CARROT TOPS

As the project is written, it is geared to GRADES 6 to 8; however, it can be adapted to ANY grade level.
Question: Can a plant grow from just the top of a carrot?
Research:
What kind of root does a carrot have? Why is the root so big? What is needed for a plant to grow?
Hypothisis:
Can the carrot top provide what is needed for the plant to grow?
Materials: Shallow container, 4 carrots

1. Cut about half an inch off the end of the carrot that has the leaves. Cut the leaves off close to the base of the carrot.
2. Put the carrots into the container with the cut side down.
3. Add enough water to cover about half the carrot top.
4. Place the container in a well-lighted window.
5. Observe the carrot tops each day for any changes. Remember the changes may start out small and change slowly. Look for new leaves and roots.
6. Use a metric ruler to measure any growth you may observe.
7. Continue your observations for six days and write your report on the sixth day. For younger children---just have fun observing the carrot, while making observations along the way!

TEACHER/CAREGIVER SECTION FOR CARROTS:
POSSIBLE HYPOTHESIS:
No growth will occur since the carrot is not living-OR Leaves will grow since even this small part of the plant is still living.
Possible Conclusion: The carrot top should show some new growth each day. The student should discuss the possible reasons for the growth.
Adapted from Judy Schneider

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 MAKE A TERRARIUM

A terrarium is a sort of living landscape inside an enclosed plastic container or jug.
•To start, put a layer of pebbles or charcoal at the bottom of the container for drainage.
•Cover that with two inches of topsoil.
•Add a few rocks, some twigs or branches, moss,and small plants.
•Moisten the terrarium with water, but don't overdo it.
Cover the opening with a sheet of plastic wrap.

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#1 SODA BOTTLE GREENHOUSE...
Materials:
2 clear 2-liter bottles (soda)
Sand
Dirt
Seeds
1.  Cut one bottle so that the bottom is approximately 4" high--this creates the bottom and base of the green house.
2.  Next, cut the second bottle so it's about 9" high this will be the "lid" or top for your house.
3.  Place small aount of potting soil in the bottom of the 4" base.
4.  Add soil and seeds. Water the seeds--- then slip the top over it to create a “greenhouse”.
5.  Put in sunny place and plants will appear in 2-5 days -- depending on the seeds you use.

#2 SODA BOTTLE GREENHOUSE

 1.) Thoroughly wash and dry the clear plastic bottle. A clear juice bottle or 2-liter soda bottle works. With the scissors, cut all the way around the bottle to carefully remove the top one-third of the bottle.

2.) Place about 1 inch of loose grave in the bottom of the bottle, then add about 3 inches of potting soil.

3.) Make small holes in the dirt and plant the small plants or seedlings in the soil, just deep enough to cover the roots.

4.) Add a few drops of water in the bottle, but do not soak the soil. As the bottle will be almost an enclosed garden only a little bit of water is necessary.

5.) Gently place the top part of the bottle back in place on top of the planted section. Use the wide clear tape to secure the 2 parts of the bottle together. (You may need an extra pair of hands for this part.) Once the sections are back together and in place, if you desire, you can decorate the bottle with sticky-backed ribbon to cover the joint where the bottle sections are taped together.

 6.) Place the green house in a sunny warm location and water only when necessary. You do not need to keep the lid on the bottle as the air and condensation will give the plants all the nutrition they need to grow into healthy, thriving plants. Source: Source:eHow.com

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WORM FARM- HOW WORMS WORK IN THE GARDEN!!!

Worms are vitally important for the gardener. Not only do they aerate the soil and improve its condition by breaking down rotting plant waste in the soil, they will also produce  higher quality compost in your compost heap, eating their way through quantities of kitchen waste at the same time.

 Directions:

  • Cut the top off a plastic soda bottle, tape the edge.
  • Pour in 2 inches gravel or stones for drainage (good way to get small rocks out of the yard!)
  • Alternate 2 inches of sand, 2 inches of dirt. (VERY lightly spray the dirt with water) Worms 'breathe' through their skin, which must be damp for this to happen. Put a few small pieces of banana peel in the middle for worm food.
  • Continue with layers till top.
  • Add worms. Tape the top back on or cover top with plastic wrap and tape. Either way, put in several air holes. The jar should not be put anywhere too cold.

Tape black construction paper around bottle, and leave for a day or 2 -- try to do this on a Friday. When you take the paper off, you will see the tunnels the worms have made, and the layers will have shifted and mixed. 

Make sure you check your bottle ecosystems every day; moisten the soil; add more moistened food to the top layer if necessary. Always ensure the contents of the jar are moist, not too wet and definitely not too dry.

You can also: 1.) Observe your ecosystems and record your observations. 2.) Draw a picture or take a digital photograph of your ecosystems.

Charles Darwin studied worms for 39 years, and concluded that life on earth would not be possible without them. Mainly because they increase soil fertility so efficiently, but also because they reduce quantities of plant waste.

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WORMS CAN BE FUN... Activity Two

Go to bait and tackle store and buy bait worms. Dump them into two large tubs of dirt and let the children observe them as they dig. The children can use their hands to dig up the worms. If your children a young, have a variety of plastic birds  at the table for pretend feeding.

With the children, TAKE THE WORMS OUTSIDE and put them in the garden at the end of the day. Have a box of baby wipes available for hand washing.

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TURN A PROTECTED SECTION of your home, program or school yard into a nature shelter.

In warm weather or cold weather- birds, squirrels and other small wildlife are in constant search of food, fresh water and safe shelter. Set up a bird feeder, bird bath and bird house where you and the children will be able to quietly observe. Youth enjoy watching different animals seek the food and water and your bird house will be there when needed. Visit Bird Theme 

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 PLANT  BULBS IN THE FALL

When fall approachs, it's  time to get  bulbs in the ground for spring blossoms such as tulips, hyacinths, daffodils and lilies. When flowers welcome next spring-you'll be happy that you did!
For the best results:

  • Plant before the first frost.
  • Dig a trench and place the soil on a plastic sheet.
  • Place the bulbs in the trench according to your design, but don't let them touch. Make sure they are facing the right way up.
  • Replace the soil.
  • Water thoroughly. You can also add a layer of mulch to keep the bulbs moist.
  • Now all you have to do is wait for spring to see healthy green sprouts that will grow into colorful flowers!
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GROW YOUR OWN FRESH SALAD!

Grow a selection of salad crops to make a lovely summer salad and introduce children to practical gardening. It will increase their interest in healthy food and help them to understand plant life cycles.

Materials:
A plot of good soil, garden tools, compost or manure, watering can,
Seed Ideas for salad: lettuce, nasturtium, pot marigold, cherry tomato, tomatoes, peas and crystal apple cucumber

1. Help children dig the soil and mix in some compost or manure.

2.  Plant  seeds following the directions on the seed packets. You don't have to grow the crops in rows -but can plant in patches, spirals or pots and window-boxes. Be sure children leave enough space to be able to get to the plants for watering, weeding, slug removing and picking!

3. When seeds are planted, water them gently. Seeds MUST be kept moist to germinate.

4. When seeds start to grow, take steps that slugs don't visit and eat everything. (A slug trap can be made with some beer in a jar - make sure you dig a hole to place the jar in so that it sits at soil level.)

5. Remind kids to keep pulling out the weeds, but not to disturb  salad crops. You can give the pea plants some sticks to climb up.

6. Be patient until the salad crops look ready to eat!

RAW PEAS can go in salad - the children just need to take them out of their pods.
 
The NASTURTIUMS AND MARIGOLDS are advised for two reasons: they encourage pest-eaters to come into gardens... and  can also be eaten. The marigold petals and the leaves and flowers of the nasturtium will brighten up any salad.

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How to grow TOMATO PLANTS (from seeds) with your child.

• Around March/April, start by filling a small flowerpot with fresh potting compost.
• Press the soil until it's firmly packed and then evenly sprinkle a few tomato seeds on the surface of the soil.
• Cover the seeds by putting a little compost into another pot and shaking it gently over the new seeds, like a pepper pot.
• Cover the pot with cling film or a plastic bag and secure it with an elastic band and place it in a warm, light place until the seeds begin to sprout.
• When the seedlings appear they will need to transfer them to their own pots. And around June time, when the weather is warmer, plant them outside in larger pots or in the garden.
• Ensure plants are well-watered and give them a special treat of plant food once a week.

Be sure the children wash their hands after gardening, as well as the produce before they eat it.

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GARDENING & COMMUNITY SERVICE...

• Improve the school grounds and plant trees or wildflowers.

Plant produce. Donate the harvest to a local food bank.

Plant seeds. Sell the flowers or plants and donate the proceeds to a local organization in need.
Form a litter patrol on school or park ground

Put on a play at your school, a fair, or festival about local environmental issues.

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This is page 1...Go to page 2 for Gardening Themed ideas for Art, Crafts, Games, Snacks, Songs and Jokes!

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Some interesting categories that could blend with a 'Garden Theme' are:

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Gardening Page 2

December 13, 2011 22:19 by Barbara Shelby

 This page contains Garden Themed Art, Crafts, Games, Snacks, Songs and Jokes! Page 1 is filled with ideas for gardening with kids--including container gardening, worm bottles, fun ideas and experiments!

ARTS AND CRAFTS...

'BLUEBERRIES FROM THE GARDEN' PAINTING

Good for any summer day-but great way to celebrate National Blueberry Month during July!
1.  Give children blueberries to look at, touch, smell, and taste. (Good for the young)
2.  After the children have observed the blueberries add a little water to them and cook them in the microwave for one minute.
3.  Have children mush them up. Use the blueberry juice to paint a beautiful blue blueberry picture. 

MAKE A SIT-A-PON FOR GARDENING ...

Remember making these when you were in Brownies or Girl Scouts? Children can make them for family members to kneel on during summer gardening! (Good for Camping too!) Also great for your outdoor 'Circle Time". Need:
  •  1 thick magazine or catalog.
  •  Old plastic coated tablecloth
  •  Yarn
  •  Large sewing needle
1. Fold your tablecloth in half. Place your magazine or catalog on the tablecloth. You'll be cutting out 2 squares from this. Cut out a square about 1 1/2-2 inches wider than the magazine. You don't want too much of an edge because then the magazine will slid around too much. The plastic part of the tablecloth will be the outside covering.
2. Take the 2 plastic squares and the one magazine and make a "sandwich " putting the magazine in the middle. You can use large straight pins to hold all the "sandwich" pieces in place. Once you have done this, using the hole punch, make openings equally spaced all around the perimeter of the "sandwich ".
3. Thread the sewing needle with the chosen yarn. Make a knot and start sewing through the holes. This will keep the "sandwich" together. After going all away around the perimeter of the rectangle end with a knot.

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ABOVE AND BELOW VEGGIE GARDEN
Materials: 12"x18" white paper, sharpie, crayons

Bring in several root vegetables. Discuss the textures and colors.
Ask students to pretend they have a magical camera - the camera is very thin, and you can slide it into the ground. Take a picture, and you can see what is going on below the surface.

Draw a horizon line and below it we draw the vegetables.
Have students do a rubbing on a cement wall with brown crayon-- on the bottom half -- to show dirt. By a Grade 2 student of Art teacher
Michal Austin in Kansas.

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START WITH A SEED (ART)
1.
Glue a watermelon seed, pumpkin, or any kind of seed, onto paper.
2. Paint an imaginary plant with the roots growing FROM the seed UNDERGROUND.
3.  Paint the leaves, and flowers or fruit of the plant above the ground level. Match the drawing of the flower/fruit to the kind of seed you have "planted."

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GOODY BAGS FOR A 'GARDEN THEMED' PARTY

Get some miniature tin or terra-cotta flower pots.

Fill them with flower and insect stickers, butterfly tattoos, a package of sunflower seeds, some gummy worms, and any other little garden theme party favors you come across at the party or discount stores.

Top with a square of plastic wrap or colored cellophane and use a rubber band to secure the wrap to the rim. Paint kids names on the pot...

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 MAKE PLAY DOUGH and make it different colors of the earth! The children can make trees, worms, and flower shapes. (There are more than 40 recipes in the Play Dough Category...even one for fossils and dough that looks like mud!)

PLAY DOUGH that LOOKS LIKE MUD!
Bring 3 cups water and 3 tablespoons vegetable oil to a boil.
While the mixture is heating, put 3 cups all purpose flour, 2 tablespoons cream of tarter, and 1 1/2 cups salt into a large bowl. Carefully mix the wet and dry together and knead until smooth.
For the MUD additions, add brown tempera paint (either dry or liquid) and 2 or 3 Tablespoons of coffee grounds. It really looks like dirt!

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MAKE A DANDELION NECKLACE OR CROWN

Remove dandelions from the lawn. Pick those with long, thick stems.
Attach them by tying one stem in a knot high up near the flower of another dandelion, and so on until reaching the desired length.
TIP: Remind children that their new necklaces/crowns are made of weeds and will wilt in a day or two, but they can always make a fresh one.

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VEGGIE MONSTER (A snack and craft in one!) 
Place a number of small vegetables and fruits on the table. Ask the kids to create a Veggie Monster, using toothpicks to attach the different pieces of fruits and veggies.
Award prizes for the most creative, the prettiest, the funniest, the scariest, and so on.

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Be sure to check out the 'Flower Theme'. There are many ideas and activities that will compliment a 'Garden Theme'.

 

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GARDEN THEMED GAMES

GARDENING RELAY RACE
You'll Need:
Small children’s watering cans
2 Buckets of water
Small plastic glasses
How to Play:

Divide the kids into two teams and have them form two lines.
Place a bucket of water at the front of each line and an empty watering can about ten feet away.
Give each player an empty plastic glass.
When you say, "Go!" the players at the front of each line must fill their glasses with water by dipping them in their bucket.
They must then run to the empty watering can and pour their glass of water inside, then run back and tag the next team member. The child who is next in line should have their glass filled with water and be ready to run. Continue the race until one team completely fills their watering can. The first team to fill its watering can to the rim with water wins.

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THE  FLOWER GARDEN GAME (This could also be called Zoo, Ocean, Circus, Barnyard or Outer Space. If you are having a different "Theme"--Just change the names to go with the theme...)

Depending how many children you have--form teams. You can have anywhere from 3 Teams and up!
Teams are in their groups and one end of the gym or field. Players in teams have DESIGNATED NAMES. For Spring Flowers you could use: TULIPS, LILY OF THE VALLEY, PHLOX, VINCA,  DAFFODIL, LILACS, and PANSY. FOR Summer Flowers: ROSE, BEGONIA, MARIGOLD, LILY, etc. 

Two or three persons are "It" in the middle of the room.
"It" calls out the names of the flower (Example - tulip)
All tulips must run to the garden at the opposite end of the room without being caught.
When "GARDEN" is called, everyone must run to the opposite end.
Penalty for being caught is to run all around the garden (A LAP OF THE GYM) once--- and then they can come back in the game!
(Remember to change the "it" people)

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 WHEEL BARROW RACE
Partners assume the Wheel Barrow and pusher position.
On the signal, they advance to the turning point where they change positions and return to the starting line.

 

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WHEEL BARROW RACE WITH BALLS
What You'll Need:
Two small wheel barrows (can also use wagons)
Several balls for each wheel barrow, such as beach balls, soccer balls, or basketballs.
 
Use masking tape to mark the start and finish lines for the races.
For children under five years old, make the distance fairly short. For children six to ten, make the race twenty-five feet or more.

1. Divide the kids into two teams and have them form two lines. Place a wheel barrow (or wagon) filled with a few balls at the front of each line.

2. When you say, "Go!" the players at the front of each line must grab the handles of their wheel barrows and race to the line you have marked, turn around, and race back.

3. If any balls fall out of their wheel barrow, they must stop and retrieve them.

4. When they get back to the starting line, the next team member grabs the wheel barrow and starts running.

Continue the race until every member of both teams has crossed the finish line.

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THE GARDENER SAYS...

Instead of Simon Says...Play 'The Gardener Says'...

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DEAD ANTS 'IN THE GARDEN' TAG GAME

A cooperative tag game...
One or two people volunteer to be ant-eaters, the rest start out as ants. By tagging them, ant-eaters attempt to stun all of the ants on the ant hill---while the ants struggle to avoid the ant-eaters ---and rescue their friends.

 Start by creating a boundary for play (i.e., the ant hill).
Use landmarks such as trees or cones to create the ant-hill and have everyone step inside.

  • The ant‘s must avoid the ant-eater and work together to save their ant friends who have been stunned.
  • When an ant is tagged by the ant-eater, the individual sits on the ground and calls for help.
    Stunned ants cannot move from the spot, but may wave their arms and legs to alert other ants to their situation.
  • To make a rescue, four ants must surround a stunned ant---lock their arms in a circle---and escort the individual off the ant hill to a location just outside of the play area.
  • When all four ants have locked into positions for a rescue, they cannot be targeted by the ant-eater.
  • Once an ant has been rescued, he or she returns with the rescuers to the game.
  • Play as many rounds as you wish, and switch ant-eaters frequently.

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'SNAKES AND WORMS' IN THE GARDEN 
(You can call this game anything you want. An idea is to use brown and green yarn and call it snakes and worms...)

  • Cut two colors of yarn, each about 20 feet long. (If you have a large group playing at the same time--you may need 3 colors of yarn and cut the pieces longer)
  • Next cut the long length into many pieces.
  • Hide the pieces of yarn outside.
    When time to play, carefully explain rules and regulations to children.

Form two teams with one or two kids on each side as captains.
They will tie each yarn piece that is brought to them, to the next yarn piece.
The team with the longest finished yarn string wins!
Idea: This game would also be good for a party--and adapted to the inside. 

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FUN SNACKS FOR A GARDEN THEME...

 DIRT CUPS...

#1 INDIVIDUAL DIRT CUPS (COOKIES ON TOP)
 
Canned or Pre-made Chocolate Pudding Mix
Milk (If making pudding)
Oreo Cookies
Gummy Worms
Cool Whip
Cups
Spoons
Zip Lock Bags 

  • Place Oreo cookies in a zip lock bag; have children break them up by banging the bag. Cover the bottom of cups with crumbled Oreos. 

  • Combined pudding mix and milk to make your pudding, pour into the cups--leaving 1/2 an inch of space at the top.   

 • Refrigerate pudding until set. Add crumbled Oreos to the top of each cup and garnish with a gummy worm.

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#2 DIRT CUP VERSION ( COOKIES IN PUDDING)
2 cups of cold milk
1 package (4 serving size) JELL-O Instant Pudding (chocolate flavor)
3-1/2 cups (8 ounce container) COOL WHIP whipped topping, thawed
1 package (16 ounces) chocolate sandwich cookies (like OREOS) (crush them into tiny pieces in a plastic bag)
Gummy worms 
Measuring cup
Medium mixing bowl
Wire whisk
Rubber scraper or large spoon
Measuring spoons
 8-10 paper or plastic cups (8 ounce size)
 
1. Pour the milk into the mixing bowl and add the pudding mix. Beat with the wire whisk until well blended (about two minutes). Let pudding stand for five minutes.

2. Stir whipped topping and 1/2 of the crushed cookies into the pudding (very gently) with rubber scraper until mixture is all the same color.

3. Place about 1 tablespoon of the remaining crushed cookies into the bottom of each cup.
 
4. Fill cups about 3/4 full with pudding mixture. Top each cup with the rest of the crushed cookies.

5. Add gummy worms and insects to decorate. Put cups into the refrigerator for about one hour to chill them.
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 #3 OREO PUDDING WORM CUPS (SAND AND DIRT CUPS)
Ingredients:
4 cups of cold milk
1 package (4-serving size) Jell-O chocolate flavor instant pudding
1 package ( 4-serving size) Jell-O vanilla flavor instant pudding
1 tub (8oz) Cool Whip topping, thawed
18 Oreo chocolate sandwich cookies, finely crushed, divided
8 plastic cups (6-7 oz)
Gummy worms
 
1. Prepare instant chocolate and vanilla puddings separately, with two cupsof cold milk each , as directed on packages. Let stand for five minutes.
2.Gently stir 1/2 cup of cool whip into each bowl of pudding. Sprinkle onetablespoon of Oreo crumbs into bottom of plastic cups. Top each with 1/4 cupof vanilla pudding, 1 tablespoon Oreo crumbs and 1/4 cup chocolate pudding.Sprinkle evenly with remaining Oreo crumbs. Refrigerate at least one hour.
3. Insert one or more gummy worms a into each cup just beforeserving.
Makes 8 Sand & Dirt Cups.

 

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NO BAKE MUD PIE COOKIES #1
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 cups oatmeal
1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring
Mix sugar and cocoa together… Stir in milk. Put mixture in a pot; add butter. Heat  until it comes to a full boil. STIR and cook for about two minutes. Do not let it burn.
Turn off heat and MIX IN the remaining ingredients.
Take spoonfuls of cookie dough and drop onto the waxed paper to cool.

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NO BAKE MUD PIES #2
2 cups granulated sugar
6 tablespoons cocoa
1/2 cup butter
1/2 milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup shredded coconut
3 cups instant oats
1.  Combine sugar, cocoa, butter and milk in saucepan.
2.  Bring to a boil.
3.  Add vanilla extract.
4.  Remove from heat and stir in coconut and oats.
5.  Drop by teaspoonfuls onto wax paper; chill
Makes 4 1/2 dozen.
Source: recipegoldmine.com

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MAKE AN ANT FARM... with Peanut Butter, Graham Crackers and Raisins

On a plate spread peanut butter.
In the middle erect a tunnel from the broken graham crackers.
Next, place the raisins on the peanut butter to look like Ants.
Children can eat the raisins and peanut butter with either the graham crackers or pieces of celery.
(You can use canned chocolate frosting if you have peanut allergies in your group)

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ANT HILL-- Make  edible ant hills in cups!
Use clear plastic punch cups to see the layers.
1. For the 'dirt" layer--first put chocolate pudding into the cup.
2. Crush graham crackers in a plastic Ziploc bag and pour the crumbs into the cup for the ant hill "sand".
3. Add chocolate chips or raisins for the "ants".

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HAVE KIDS MAKE THEIR OWN MUD (PUDDING) IN A BAG!
You Need:
Boxes of Instant Pudding (1 box for 2 children)
Milk (according to instructions on pudding box)
Ziploc bags (1 for each child)
Measuring cups
1. Pour half a box of pudding into each child's Ziploc bag.
2. Measure enough milk to make half a box of pudding and allow children to add it to their pudding in the bag.
3. Seal the bag (make sure it's really sealed!!)
4. Children can squish the bag around with their hands, mixing the pudding with the milk.
5. When all of the pudding is mixed, cut a small hole in the corner of the bag and let the kids suck the pudding out!
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ANTS IN THE SAND
2 Graham crackers
Chocolate sprinkles
1.  Place graham crackers in a plastic sandwich bag and crush with a rolling pin.
2.  Add a few chocolate sprinkles to make ants, then seal the bag.
3.  Give the bag to the kids to take outside to eat; they can also pour it into a small bowl and eat at the table (Using their fingers, of course.)

Variations:
•Add raisins (Call them beetles)
•Red Hots candy (ladybugs)
•Mini chocolate chips (spider eggs).
1 Serving

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 Make a GARDEN CAKE ... the basics would be with  green frosting and adding some rock candies, chocolate cookie crumbs and small silk flowers to the top of the cake.

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QUICK GARDEN THEMED SNACKS...

 A FLOWER SNACK: Soften a large package of cream cheese and ¾ pound of shredded American cheese. Mix together. Let each child arrange five round shaped crackers on a paper plate. Then they can surround the round cheese ball with the crackers to make a flower! 

Serve punch from a NEW clean watering can.

Eat sunflower, pumpkin or other types of edible seeds.

Cheetos can be called “worms.”

Serve Pepperidge Farm Butterfly Cookies and Crackers.

Cut sandwiches with a flower cookie cutter.

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EASY 'WORM IN THE GARDEN' COOKES OR CUPCAKES

Frost large round cookie or cupcakes with green frosting. (Tint white frosting with green food coloring) Place a gummy worm on top. Add green M&Ms for a 'grassy' look. Image by KidActivities.net

 

 

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SONGS ABOUT PLANTS...

GREEN PLANTS NEED...
Sing to tune of hree Blind Mice

Three main things, three main things,
Green plants need, green plants need.
For plants to grow and plants to thrive,
In order to keep green plants alive,
What does it take for them to survive?
Just three main things.

Plants need sun, plants need sun,
That's number one, plants need sun.
For plants to grow and plants to thrive,
In order to keep green plants alive,
What does it take for them to survive?
Just three main things.

Plants need air, plants need air,
Be aware, plants need air.
For plants to grow and plants to thrive,
In order to keep green plants alive,
What does it take for them to survive?
Just three main things.

Plants need water, plants need water,
Especially when it's hotter, plants need water.
For plants to grow and plants to thrive,
In order to keep green plants alive,
What does it take for them to survive?
Just three main things.

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DO YOU KNOW THE PARTS OF PLANTS?
Sing to Tune: Head, Shoulders, Knees, And Toes

Do you know the parts of plants...
Parts of plants?
Do you know the parts of plants...
Parts of plants?
All kinds of plants that grow and grow and grow.
Do you know the parts of plants...
Parts of plants?

The roots hold the plant in place...
Plant in place.
The roots hold the plant in place...
Plant in place.
The roots store food and water, too.
The roots hold the plant in place,
Plant in place.

The stem move water up the plant...
Up the plant.
The stem move water up the plant,
Up the plant. ...
The stem brings water to the leaves.
The stem move water up the plant,
Up the plant.

The leaves soak up the sun...
Soak up the sun.
The leaves soak up the sun...
Soak up the sun.
The sun helps the plant to grow and grow and grow.
The leaves soak up the sun,
Soak up the sun.

The flower grows into a fruit...
Into a fruit.
The flower grows into a fruit...
Into a fruit.
Inside the fruit are little tiny seeds.
The flower grows into a fruit,
Into a fruit

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FLOWER AND GARDEN JOKES

 

Why is grass so dangerous?
Because it's full of blades!

What do you get when you cross poison oak with a four leaf clover?
A rash of good luck.

Why can't the flower ride his bike?
Because he lost his petals!

What do trees drink?
Root Beer!

What did the baby Tulip say to its baby-sitter?
''I want my Poppy and my Mum!''
 
What is the best kind of guy to meet?
A fungi!

What happened to the plant in math class?
It grew square roots!

What do you get when you cross fruit with a necklace?
A food chain!

What kind of flower looks like it just came back from a fight?
A black-eyed Susan!

What do you call a homeless snail?
A slug!

What do you get when you cross a genius with a tree?
Albert Pine-stein!

If April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring?
Pilgrims!

Did you hear about the magic tractor?
It went down the road and turned into a field!

What is a tree's least favorite month?
SepTEMBER!!!

Why is the letter "A" like a flower?
A bee (B) comes after it!

What flowers grow on faces?
Tulips (Two-lips)!

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This is page 2 (return to top of page)...return to page 1 for unique ideas and activities on planting/gardening , a bottle worm farm, experiments and community service using gardening ...

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Some interesting categories that could blend with a 'Garden Theme' are:

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Insects and Bug Theme!

June 30, 2010 21:31 by Barbara Shelby

 

Note: This page contains  Art, Crafts, Games, Snacks, Poems /Songs and a Book list...they start towards the middle of the page and go down! ALL ABOUT collecting insects is at the page top...

Updated October, 2013

ALL ABOUT COLLECTING CRITTERS (Bugs/Insects)

FYI: 

By one estimate, about one million trillion insects are alive at any moment. So what would happen if all of these six-legged invertebrates were to suddenly vanish from our planet? The result would be catastrophic, according to Harvard University biologist Edward O. Wilson. Entire ecosystems would be destroyed… Unable to reproduce, plants that rely on insect pollinators would perish. So would trillions of organisms, including many reptiles, birds, and mammals that rely on insects for food. Without insects to aid in breaking down dead plant and animal matter, we'd soon be up to our necks in decay.

 Lift up anything on the ground and find little bug worlds "underneath". Many bugs hide among their favorite plants. Try a garden, yard, park, flowerbeds, hedges, and under rocks or logs.

  • Katydids are green just like the leaves.
  • Many moths are brown and look just like the bark on their favorite trees.
  • Butterflies are drawn to red, orange and pink flowers and also like phlox, alyssum, verbena, and herbs such as marjoram and thyme.
  • Look for beetles under fallen logs or rocks.
  • Crickets love cracks in sidewalks and buildings.
  • You might find the woolly bear caterpillar crawling across a sidewalk or on plants.
    Keep your eyes open for ants of all sizes---they are everywhere.

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HOW & WHERE TO SEARCH for CRITTERS...   

COMMON PLACES TO FIND INSECTS...
Insects inhabit every place on our planet except the ocean. Look for insects in these places:

  • Under boards and rocks – Look for ants, crickets, beetles, termites.
  • In or around streams, ponds, lakes – Look for mayflies, dragonflies,
    damselflies, stoneflies, caddis flies, aquatic beetles, true bugs, flies.
  • Under loose bark, in logs and stumps – Look for termites, ants and
    beetles — particularly bark beetles, tiger beetles, wood boring beetles.
  • On crops – Look for grasshoppers, beetles, flies, aphids, leafhoppers,
    spittlebugs, plant bugs.
  •  In the air – Look for butterflies, moths, flies, bees, wasps, beetles,
    leafhoppers, grasshoppers.
  •  In cellars and basements – Look for crickets, beetles, ants, bristletails.
  •  On livestock, pets, poultry – Look for fleas, sucking lice, chewing lice,
    flies.
  • Around outdoor lights at night – Look for moths, beetles, true bugs,
    mosquitoes.
  • Around dumps or piles of refuse – Look for cockroaches, earwigs,
    beetles, flies.
  • On manure piles – Look for flies, beetles.
  • In, around or on flowers and ornamental plants – Look for thrips,
    plant bugs, beetles, bees, wasps, ants, aphids, scale insects, walking
    sticks, insects galls, butterflies, moths.
  •  In houses – Look for crickets, cockroaches, beetles, ants, flies,
    mosquitoes, moths, termites, silverfish.
  • In clothes, furniture, stored food – Look for clothes moths, carpet
    beetles, flour beetles, bean weevils. (Info from MSU website)

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AT HOME...

If children are heading on a night-time hunt, instruct them try turning on a porch light, standing near a street light or shining a flashlight and you're sure to see some moths. With a large grassy lawn on a warm summer's night they’ll see the bright flickering of hundreds of fireflies. Fireflies and ladybugs are favorites among families.

SIGNS OF CRITTER LIFE include nibbled plant leaves or flowers.

  • Look on the stems and underneath the leaves or petals for hungry caterpillars and other insects.
  • Carefully lift up leaves, flowers and rocks to look for critters.
  • Listen as carefully as you look. Cicadas, for example, sing at dawn and dusk in the summer.
  • Peek on tree trunks. If you're lucky, you can watch a green cicada drying out on the tree trunk after crawling out of its brown nymph skin, which may still cling to the tree.
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IDENTIFYING INSECTS...

It may be difficult to correctly name what you've found, but here are some tips.

Insects are animals that have:

  • 1 pair of antennae
  • 2 pairs of wings (if any)
  • 3 pairs of legs
  • 3 body parts: head, thorax and abdomen
    and an exoskeleton ("exo" means their skeleton is on the outside!)

Count Legs: Insects have only six legs, but if it has eight legs as do spiders, ticks and scorpions, it is considered an arachnid, not an insect. A hairy spider could be a "wolf spider" that lives in the ground and moves very fast to catch its food.

  • Antennae? Most BUTTERFLIES have antennae that look like golf clubs with thick bumps at each end; MOTHS tend to have antennae that are straight or feathery.
  • If you want the official insect names, check out a field guide from the library; a good one for kids is the National Audubon Society's First Field Guide-Insects published by Scholastic.

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ARE YOU SPOTTING THE CRITTERS-- OR KEEPING THEM? 

Let your kids decide if you want to "catch" what you see or just spot what you see. If you want to catch, see the below post  for "critter keeper" directions. Your group may decide to just observe critters and chose to learn more about "what the critters do and how they live."

 WHEN INSECTS ARE CAPTURED AND BROUGHT INSIDE... Be sure to put a small cap full of water in the bug house and some leaves and twigs. Let children watch them, look at them with a magnifying glass and then release them back to their outdoor home.

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 MAKING A PLASTIC CRITTER-KEEPER JAR: If kids want to collect what they've found, make this keeper jar. Your critters can breathe and you can watch them closely. Add some grass, sticks, leaves or flowers and when you're finished watching, LET THE BUGS GO BACK TO THEIR OWN HOMES AGAIN!

What You'll Need:
28 or 40-ounce plastic peanut butter jar
Sharp scissors, (an adult's job)
Nylon netting, tulle, or fine wire mesh
Electrical or masking tape.
Optional: 2 chenille stems, paint markers, bug stickers
TIP: Use scraps of lace or netting and substitute masking tape and permanent markers to cut down on supply costs.

WHAT TO DO:

  • Remove the paper label. Have an adult  cut a small rectangular hole in the upper half of one side of the jar. Make it about 3 inches wide and 1-2 inches tall. 
  • Cut a piece of netting that is 1 inch wider than the hole and 3 times the height of hole plus 1 inch. Fold the netting into thirds so you have 3 layers of netting to cover the hole.
  • Stretch the netting layers over the hole and tape it in place along all 4 edges with electrical tape. Press tape firmly against jar. Decorate the tape with paint markers and bug stickers.
  • To make an optional handle: Wrap one chenille stem around the top of jar under the lid and twist ends together. Slide the ends of the other stem under the first one at opposite sides of jar. Hook the ends around it and twist to hold.

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HOW TO GET AN INSECT ZOO! Work with the children to set up a few insect traps on the play yard.
Things you will need:
Four small, clear, plastic cups, Shovels, Peanut butter:

Help the children dig four small holes in the dirt. The holes will need to be the same size as the plastic cups. Lower the plastic cups into the holes so that the brims are even with the Earth. Put a small scoop of peanut butter in each of the cups and cover it with a small layer of loose grass. That’s it! Wait a while and you will get a big surprise. In a few days, you will have an insect zoo for your insect aquarium...release insects after observing.

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 MAKE A "BUG INN"

Materials Needed:
One round oatmeal container
2 feet of fiberglass screening (from a hardware store) or
some donated old screens...
Craft knife (for adults only)
Markers or poster paint

1. Use markers or poster paint to decorate the outside of the oatmeal container.
2. Draw windows and a door on the container. With the craft knife, an adult should cut out windows and cut three sides to form your door, so it opens and closes.
3. Roll the screening so it rests tightly around the inside of the container.
4. Trim so the top edge fits beneath the lid and leave a one inch overlap where the side edges meets.
5. When 'guests' arrive at the Bug Inn, be sure to provide them with food, such as grass, or whatever they were eating when you found them.
6. Place a bottle cap filled with water in the container. When you are done observing your guests, please let them go back to their real homes.
.....This would be suitable for 5 years old and up.

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SNACKS...Want to turn the above into a Theme?

Just add some of the fun "EDIBLE CREEPY CRAWLIES" to your plans! Yumm...6 and 8 leg critters never tasted so good! This is followed by crafts, games, songs and a book list...

PEANUT BUTTER CATERPILLARS
Bananas
Peanut butter
Grapes
Chow Mein noodles
     • Peel and slice a banana. Join the slices together by "gluing" them with peanut butter. Carefully poke two Chow Mein noodles (or break a pretzel stick in half to make two pieces) through the top of the grape. Use more peanut butter to attach the head (grape) to the front of the body, with antennae (Chow Mein noodles) pointing up.
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ANTS IN THE SAND
Crushed graham crackers
Chocolate sprinkles
Snack sized re-sealable plastic bags
  • To crush graham crackers, place inside a large (gallon size) re-sealable plastic bag. Using a rolling pin, crunch crackers through the bag by rolling back and forth over them until they are all in crumb form.
Fill snack sized re-sealable bags halfway with graham cracker crumbs. Add a small handful of chocolate sprinkles to the bags and seal.
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ANT HILL Make  edible ant hills in cups!
Use clear plastic punch cups to see the layers.
1. For the 'dirt" layer--first put chocolate pudding into the cup.
2. Crush graham crackers in a plastic Ziploc bag and pour the crumbs into the cup for the anthill "sand".
3. Add chocolate chips or raisins for the "ants".

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GREAT "BUGGY" VEGGIE  SNACKS...

BUGS ON A LOG...
MAKE 'LOGS' from any of these foods:

  •  CELERY STALKS (cut to about 3 inches long)
  • APPLES (cut in halves or quarters with cores removed)
  • CARROT STICKS (cut to about 3 inches long)

FILL THE 'LOGS' WITH A SPREAD:

  • Cream Cheese
  • Cream cheese and pineapple
  • Cheese and pimento
  • Peanut butter
  • Egg salad

SPRINKLE 'BUGS' ON THE SPREAD:

  • Raisins
  • Golden raisins
  • Dried cranberries or cherries
  • Raisenettes candy
  • Unsweetened cereal
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Chopped peanuts of finely chopped walnuts
  • Mix in chopped apple or crushed pinapple

  ______________________________ 
COOKIE SPIDERS
Black or chocolate licorice twists
Fudge sandwich cookies
Chocolate frosting
Red cinnamon candies or chocolate chips or raisins for eyes

  • Cut licorice in half.
  • Remove the top of each sandwich cookie; press 8 licorice pieces into the fudge center to resemble spider legs.
  • Spread a little chocolate frosting over the licorice; replace cookie tops.
  • Frost the tops of the spider cookies with frosting. Place red cinnamon candies on top for eyes.
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MUENSTER CHEESE BEETLES

Crunchy Chow Mein noodles
Muenster cheese (or other soft block cheese)
• Cut the cheese into 2" x 1" rectangular blocks. Gently insert three Chow Mein noodles on each side of the cheese blocks for legs. Using two broken Chow Mein noodles, insert into the "head" as antennae.
Tip: Use softer cheese such as gouda, Havarti, Monterey jack, or mozzarella so cheese does not crumble Chow Mein noodle are inserted.

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MARSHMALLOW SPIDERS
You'll need a package of large marshmallows, pretzel sticks or chow mein noodles and mini M & M's or raisins.
  • Have the kids push four pretzel sticks or noodles into each side of the marshmallow as the spider's legs. These will make the marshmallow body of the spider actually stand on their spider legs.
Use another stick to poke two eye holes in the marshmallow; insert M&M's or raisins into place as the spider's eyes. (Image by KidActivities.net)

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CRACKER SPIDERS with peanut butter or cheese spread!
These arachnid treats are easy to make and they look positively lifelike crawling across the snack plate.
For each:
2 round crackers
2 teaspoons smooth peanut butter (or cheese spread if allergies)
8 small pretzel sticks
2 raisins
  • With the peanut butter, make a cracker sandwich. Insert eight pretzel "legs" into the filling. With a dab of peanut butter, set two raisin "eyes" on top. Makes 1. (Image by KidActivities.net) 
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THE ABOVE ARE ALSO GREAT WITH NUTELLA
Ingredients:
8 Ritz crackers
4-5 Tbsp. chocolate hazelnut spread, such as Nutella
thin pretzel sticks for decorating
Raisins or white chocolate chips for decorating
Directions:
1. Spread approximately one tablespoon of the chocolate hazelnut spread (Nutella) on four Ritz crackers. Top each with another Ritz cracker to make a sandwich.
2. Insert pretzel sticks on the sides of each cracker to make a spider's legs. 3. Make the spider's eyes by dabbing a bit of Nutella on the back of two raisins or white chocolate chips and placing them on top of the cracker sandwich. Make the spider's mouth the same way, using the Nutella as glue for the white chocolate chips or raisins, and arranging them in the shape of a mouth.
4. Serve and eat!
Makes 4 crunchy

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BUTTERFLY BITES #1

Ingredients:
Stalks of celery, Twist pretzels, Pretzel pieces, Raisins and Spreadable cheddar, any cream cheese or peanut butter

Directions:
Wash celery and cut in half crosswise. Fill each celery piece with 1-tablespoon cheddar cheese, cream cheese or peanut butter. Add two pretzel twists for wings. Use pretzel pieces for antennae and raisins for decoration. Eat your butterfly before it files away!

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DRINK BUG JUICE! Sprinkle a few raisins in glasses/cups of apple juice or apple cider...or add raisins to water before freezing for ice-cubes.

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 BUTTERFLY BITES #2Put out apple slices, mini carrots, pretzel sticks and raisins or dried cranberries. Have kids use apple slices for the wings, the carrot for the body and pretzel sticks for antennae, Decorate with raisins. Photo by KidActivities

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EASY CATERPILLAR CAKE...Ingredients: Cake mix (Confetti nice for this)
Frosting
Green or yellow food coloring
Coconut
Pretzels 
Prepare cake mix as directed on box and bake in bunt pan.
Cut the cake in half and lay the two pieces together IN A CURVE---for the caterpillar body.

(A photo of this cake done up as a 'Worm' is in the Worm Theme...)

Color the frosting green or yellow (your choice) and spread on cooled cake.
Sprinkle coconut so the caterpillar looks fuzzy.
Add straight pretzels for antennas.
Add other facial details as desired

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 CREEPY CRAWLERS
1 lg. pkg. butterscotch chips
1 lg. pkg. milk chocolate chips
1/4 c. butter
1 (5 oz.) can chow mein noodles
1 to 2 tbsp. water
  • Melt chips and butter in double boiler or glass bowl in microwave. Stir to mix. Gradually add small amounts of water to thicken mixture. Stir in noodles and mix to coat in chocolate mixture. Drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper.

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ARTS & CRAFTS... (Critter Jar up above...)

A cool idea from Shannon Stewart at Stetson School...INSECTS UNDER MAGNIFYING GLASS

  

  

 

 

 

 

 

 A "Bumble Bee picture" is in Art Gallery: Grades 1 to 3. These images were made by 3rd graders.

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BUTTERFLY FEET
Paint the bottom of children's feet with non-toxic tempera paint. Have the child step onto a piece of paper with their feet and heels together. When dry, have children add antennae with crayons, markers or yarn.

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FINGER PRINT BUGS
Dip thumbs in washable paint to  make 'thumbprint' bodies on paper. Have children decorate insect bodies by drawing in legs and antennae.

PAINT THUMB PRINT PICTUES with Watercolor Tins. 

 

1.  Prime the paints by placing a bead of water on each color.
2.  Stick your thumb in a watercolor pan.
3.  Make a thumbprint on the paper.
4.  When it is dry, add lines to make it a bug.

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 CREATE AN EGG CARTON BUG!

Materials: Cotton balls, egg cartons, paint/markers, google eyes, pipe cleaners, construction paper, glitter, any other material the children may want to use.
Cut the egg cartons in separate 1 to 3 hump-pieces and put them out with a variety of the above supplies. See where the children's imaginations will take them! 

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CATERPILLAR
Materials:
Plastic-Foam meat tray
Hole puncher
Yarn and Pen

  •  Cut circles from a thoroughly sanitized plastic-foam meat tray.
  • With a hole puncher, punch a hole through the center of each circle.
  • Tie a knot in one end of a piece of yarn.
  • Push the other end of the yarn through the hole in each circle.
  • When your caterpillar is as long as you want, knot the second end of the yarn, leaving some yarn behind the knot for a tail.
  • Draw a face on the front circle. You now have a Caterpillar!
  • You can also make the caterpillars with long sections of egg cartons-such as the above bugs!

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 Visit the Joke Category of Fleas, Flies & Spiders 

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GAMES...

 PLAY...CATERPILLAR IN THE GARDEN
1.  Divide your guests into two teams.
2.  Line the children up in two columns, one child behind the other, at the start line.
3.  Have each child put his or her hands on the waist of the child in front of them, forming a "caterpillar."
4,  When you say, "Wiggle!" each team must run, staying connected, to the finish line.
5.  If a team becomes disconnected, they must stop and reconnect before continuing.
6.  The first team to the finish line wins.
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BEES IN THE GARDEN
Need:
A Large Piece of White Poster Board
A Black Marker
Any Colored Marker (optional)
Scissors or an X-Acto Knife
At Least 3 Plastic Yellow Easter Eggs
1.  Draw a flower shape on the large piece of poster board.
2.  If this game is being played by younger children, make sure the center of the flower is about 7" - 8" in diameter. If  youth are older, make the center smaller (i.e. no smaller than 5" in diameter).
3.  Cut the center out of the flower.
4.  Color or paint the flower petals.
5.  Attach the flower to a stake or stick that can be placed in the ground.
6.  Make the three "bees" by drawing black stripes and antennae on plastic yellow Easter eggs.
TO PLAY: Place your flower in the ground, and draw a line about 6 feet in front of it. Line children up behind the line. Let each child try to toss each "bee" through the center of the flower.

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SONGS, POEMS AND FINGER PLAY...

HUNTING BUGS (Author Unknown)
Sung to: A- Hunting we will go

A-hunting we will go
A -hunting we will go
We'll catch a ______ (insert any insect here)
and put it in a box...
(loudly) and then we'll let it go!

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BUGGY ANATOMY GAME...
To tune of: London Bridge is Falling Down
 
Head and thorax, abdomen, abdomen, abdomen.
Head and thorax, abdomen, That's an insect.
 
Every insect has six legs, has six legs, has six legs.
Every insect has six legs, that's an insect.
 
Antennae to feel their way, feel their way, feel their way.
Antennae to feel their way, that's an insect.

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BUGS

June bug, stink bug,
Ladybug, chinch bug,
Water bug, pink bug,
Please-don't-pinch bug!

Horsefly, housefly,
Dragonfly, deer fly,
Firefly, fruit fly,
Buzzing-in-your-ear fly!

Honeybee, bumblebee,
Queen bee, drone bee,
Worker bee, nurse bee,
Leave-me-alone bee!

Gypsy moth, luna moth,
Beetle and mosquito,
Bugs and insects
Really are neat-o!

Cockroach, katydid,
Cricket and cicada,
Grasshopper, mantis,
Catch you all later!
Author Unknown

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IT'S AN INSECT (This would be great fun to go with one of the 'Creepy Crawlie Snack ideas)
To tune of: My Darling Clementine

It's an insect
Not a spider
it has six legs--instead of eight.
 
3 on this side
3 on that side...and it's crawling on my plate!

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WE'RE GOING ON A BUG HUNT...
Rhymed to: "We're Going on a Bear Hunt"

We're going on a bug hunt!
We're going to catch some big ones.
What a sunny day!
Are you ready? OK!

Oh my! A bee!
A black & yellow bee,
Flying over the flowers.
BUZZ.....

We're going on a bug hunt!
We're going to catch some big ones.
What a sunny day!
Are you ready? OK!

Oh, my! An ant!
A tiny, black ant,
Crawling through the grass.
Shh...

We're going on a bug hunt!
We're going to catch some big ones.
What a sunny day!
Are you ready? OK!

Oh, my! A grasshopper!
A big, green grasshopper,
Hopping around the tree.
Boing, boing...

We're going on a bug hunt!
We're going to catch some big ones.
What a sunny day!
Are you ready? OK!

Oh, my! A butterfly!
A pretty, orange butterfly,
Floating in the sky.
Whoosh, whoosh...

We're going on bug hunt!
We're going to catch some big ones.
What a sunny day!
Are you ready? OK!

Oh my! A spider!
A big black spider,
Creeping on the tree. Creep, creep...
(Author Unknown)

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FUZZY WUZZY CATERPILLAR

Fuzzy wuzzy caterpillar in the garden creeps
He spins himself a blanket and soon falls fast asleep.
Fuzzy wuzzy caterpillar wakes up by and by...
To find he has wings of beauty, changed to a butterfly.

Pretty little butterfly, what do you do all day?
I fly around the flowerpots, nothing' to do but play.
Nothing' to do but play, darling', nothing' to do but play.
So fly butterfly, fly butterfly, don't waste your time away. (Author Unknown)

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Caterpillar Chant 
Original Author Unknown

A caterpillar looks so small.
It is hardly there at all.
It munches on green leafy treats,
And it gets bigger as it eats.

It eats and eats, 'til pretty soon,
It wraps up tight in a cocoon.
When it wakes up it blinks its eyes
And says, "I'm now a butterfly!"

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If you like Insects... Click here for our great 'WORM THEME'!

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BOOKS ABOUT BUGS ( LISTED A-Z)

Amazing Anthony Ant by Lorna & Graham Philpot
Amazing World of Butterflies and Moths by Louis SabinAnts 
Armies of Ants by Walter Retan

Backyard Insects by Millicent E. Seisam
Big Bad Bugsby Tracey E. Dils
Bugs by Heather Amery & Jane Songi
Bugs by Nancy Winslow Parker & Joan Richards Wright
Bugs: A closer look at the world's tiny creatures by Jinny Johnson
Butterflies and Moths by John Leigh-Pemberton
Butterfliesby Elizabeth Elias Kaufman
Butterflies Bugs and Wormsby Sally Morgan
Butterflies and Moths by Angels Julivert
Buzz! A book about Insects by Melvin Berger   

Camouflage in Nature by National Audubon Society
Can You Find Me? by Jennifer Dewey
Can You Find Me? A book about Camouflage by Jennifer Dewey
Close Up by Frank B. Edwards
Creepy Crawlies by Cathy Kilpatrick 
Creepy Crawly Baby Bugs by Sandra Markle

Disguises and Surprises by Claire Llewellyn

First Field Guide Insects by National Audbudon Society 

How Do Flies Walk Upside Down? by Melvin & Gilda Berger 

I Can Read About Creepy Crawly Creatures by C.J. Naden
I Can Read About Insects by Deborah Merrians
I Wish I Were A Butterfly by James Howe 
Insects Do The Strangest Things  by Leonora & Arthur Hornblow
Insects A True Book by Illa Podendorf
 
Ladybugby Barrie Watts

Monster Bugs by Lucille Recht Penner

Our Insect Allies  by National Aududon Society

Questions and Answers About Bees .by Betty Polisar Reigot
Quick as a Cricket by Audry Wood

Spiders Spin Webs by Amanda O'Neill

The Big Bug Searchby Caroline Young
The Caterpillar and the Polliwog by Jack Kent
The Creepy, Crawly Book by Bobbi Kate
The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle
The Ladybug and other insects  by Scholastic
The Magic School Bus "Gets Ants in its Joanna Cole
The Magic School Bus "Butterflies and the Bog Beast".by Joanna Cole
The Magic School Bus "Inside a Beehive" by Joanna Cole
The Spider Makes a Web by Joan M. Lezau
The Very Quiet Cricket by Eric Carle

What's Inside? Insects by Scholastic
What Is An Insect? by Jenifer W. Day
What Is An Insect? by Robert Snedden
World's Weirdest Bugs .....by M.L.Roberts 
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Some other pages that may interest you are: