Growing gardens provides wonderful links to literacy learning and the English Curriculum. We’re starting with an old favourite – the Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.
Create your own Very Hungry Caterpillar from egg carton seedling trays lined up in a long row (they fit well on a window sill). Plant seeds in the egg cartons (remember to label them!). Children can decorate their caterpillar’s body using vivid contrasting colours inspired by Eric Carle’s iconic paintings. Instead of a lollipop, chocolate cake, icecream and cherry pie, we’re filling the caterpillar’s Saturday with lettuce, broccolini, tomatoes, leeks, and dragon’s tongue beans. This may cause him less of a belly ache. Great opportunities for nutrition messaging!.
Here Millie and I have created a Very Hungry Caterpillar planter box which is ideal for more advanced seedlings. We used a recycled polystyrene box painted with acrylic paints and potted with broad beans, shallots and coriander. Make a complete replica of the caterpillar by lining up a series of polystyrene boxes and having students work in teams to do the painting and planting.
Here are some other suggestions from TeacherVision of books that link with gardening adventures:
- The Tale of Peter Rabbit Use this activity with The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter to enrich children’s language and emergent literacy skills.
- The Secret Garden Use this guide on The Secret Garden to stimulate discussions focused on themes, symbols, recurrent motifs, and Frances Hodgson Burnett’s style.
- The Garden of Abdul Gasazi Teacher’s Guide Discover the magic of Chris Van Allsburg’s first children’s book,The Garden of Abdul Gasazi. This printable teacher’s guide includes a summary of the book, teaching ideas for language arts, discussion questions, and lesson planning resources for reading the book aloud with your class.