The garden is a place where the pace of life can slow down - where we can encourage kids to take their time and really look at something. Our role as educators is often to open the door (sometimes literally!) for students to discover any number of wonders waiting for them in, around, and underneath the plants. Yet our time for facilitating these experiences can often be limited - sometimes to a very short window. Whether you have just a few minutes to step outside your classroom, or need a way to engage kids who finish other activities early, having a few garden activities in your "back pocket" will certainly pay off!
To get us started, we asked a group of experienced garden educators, "What would you do with a group of kids in the garden if you had just five minutes?"
"I would pick and eat something tasty!" - Gabrielle Hinahara
"Roll over a rock or decomposing wood and investigate how alive the soil is!! Look for insects, fungi, and soil in various states of decomposition. Fill your hands and breathe in that life!!" -Julie P.
"Have everyone close their eyes and be silent and mindful for one minute. Then, have them share things they sensed: smells, sounds, feelings etc." -Erin Moriearty
"Make a 'hand salad' out of different herbs and greens kids can pick." -Leia Young
"Get a bunch of paint sample swatches from the hardware store, give a different color swatch to each child, and tell them to find something in the garden environment that matches the color of their paint swatch as closely as possible!" -Elin A.
Share your back pocket activities! #fiveminutesinthegarden