“Children have an anxious concern for living beings, and therefore the satisfaction of this instinct fills them with delight. It is therefore easy to interest them in taking care of plants and especially of animals.” ~ Maria Montessori, The Discovery of the Child

Caring for plants, both indoors and outdoors, is part of our daily practical life routine at home. Our sunny and warm climate means our plants require watering, trimming and attention frequently.

Watering Tools Are Always Handy and Support Growth 💦🌱

We always keep a watering can and mister handy. As important as it is for the plants to be cared for, the benefits to the child are tremendous. Through their care for plants, they are enhancing their small and large muscle development, independence, confidence, and eye-hand coordination, just to name a few. The child also learns to wonder about the plants and become mindful of their ongoing needs. This awareness is instilled in a very natural way and can translate to the care of animals and family, too. All living things are interdependent.

🌳 Imagine Being the Tree

Although our outdoor time can be full of spontaneous nature experiences, I also use it as an opportunity to point out specifics, such as the Parts of the Tree. First, I explain that the roots are like fingers that grab on to the soil. We then imagine ‘being’ the tree … “Think of how the soil might feel on your feet? Let the water run up your trunk. Can you imagine how that might feel? Now Imagine the water going all the way to the branches (arms) and the stems (hands), and finally the leaves (fingers). The leaves are going to make food from the air, sunlight and water. Plants are the only living things that make their own food.” Pause.

Expose the Child to Nature to Heighten Senses and Develop a Greater Understanding

The purpose of this activity is to help the child understand both the plant’s structure and how it functions.The best way to teach the child about the living world is to expose him to nature and real things. Showing the child a nest in a tree reveals its contribution to life as shelter for animals. Picking vegetables from a plant growing in a garden and then preparing and eating them together will leave a lasting impression, too. Using all five senses––seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling and tasting––leaves a deep sensorial imprint from nature too.

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