We have talked a lot about plants and gardening here on the Today’s Family blog, because we believe that having children care for a plant or two can offer countless learning opportunities. They have to learn about dirt, water, and the importance of sunlight for growing plants. They also have to be patient, but growing a plant gives children a long-term project to focus on over the course of a season.
There is a lot of information to learn, and much of it can be confusing for young children. In order to help make learning about plants easier, one of our Early Childhood Educators came up with a song to the tune of “The Itsy-Bitsy Spider” in order to help the children remember how the plant life cycle works. It goes like this:
The Itsy-Bitsy Seedling
grew up through the ground.
Down came the rain,
to wet it all around.
Out came the sun,
and warmed it through and through.
And the Itsy-Bitsy Seedling
grew up an inch or two!
This song was a big hit in our preschool classrooms, especially when the children worked together to make actions for the song, using their arms and hands to represent the plant, rain, and sun. Curiosity and wonder was sparked as children explored with their senses, inhaling the smell and taste and exhaling their laughter.
Including songs and actions is a fun way for children to get excited about learning. In fact, children have so much fun singing and dancing while they are actually learning about how plants need rain and sunshine to grow! It is not quite as in-depth as a textbook, but the basic understanding is still the same.
How Does Learning Happen? finds that children use fun and play to experiment with and learn about the world around them. Fostering this sense of happy exploration is a great way to get them interested in nature and how the world works, which in turn prepares them for more formal learning environments when they are older.
So, the next time you want to make sure that children (especially young children) learn something, whether it’s particular words, or a lesson about nature, or even a lesson on how to treat other people, songs and other activities are good ways to make your point. The good news is, there are plenty of places to look to for inspiration!