We are often asked what kind of tools should be available for young children to use in the garden. We recommend having the items below in both child and adult sizes. Keep in mind that when children garden, plants may get damaged accidentally and seeds may be sown in locations not intended. Both are part of the process and provide opportunities for learning and exploring.
- Spading fork to hand-till raised beds
- Hand trowels
- Harvesting baskets
- Hoses and sprinklers
- Measuring sticks and rulers
- Pruners (kept in a safe location)
- Row markers
- Six-foot bamboo or wooden stakes to stake up tomato and pole bean plants
- Thick yarn and scraps from women’s hosiery for tying up plants
- Tiller (hand or electric)
- Watering cans
Ready for more? For more, take the Early Sprouts Online Training or read Early Sprouts: Cultivating Healthy Food Choices in Young Children
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Whether creating a small container garden or developing a large outdoor space, gardening helps children understand the source of the foods they eat. As they work with with the growing plants they establish a personal connection with the vegetables they are growing.
As our culture has become busier and less involved in food production and preparation, young children and their families are often more familiar with the appearance of frozen or canned vegetables than they are with fresh produce. Even many fresh vegetables are precut or wrapped in plastic for convenience. These store-bought vegetables in all their forms—fresh, frozen, or canned—bear little resemblance to their garden relatives.
By involving young children in planting seeds or seedlings, you’ll be offering them a connection to the natural world that is often missing in their lives. Visit the plants on a regular basis and watch children’s explorations, observations, and questions deepen as the plants grow.
For more, take the Early Sprouts Online Training or read Early Sprouts: Cultivating Healthy Food Choices in Young Children
Great news for early childhood educators in Illinois who are committed to fostering good health: all of Early Sprouts Institute's online trainings are now pre-approved for profesional development hours.
It's not too late to take advantage of the introductory discount for the Active Play Every Day training. Earn 6.5 hours and be prepared to integrate physical activity throughout the preschool day for just $19.50 (save 40%).
The popular Growing Healthy Eaters online training is also pre-approved for 7 hours, and 10 hours can be earned by completing the training for the award-winning Early Sprouts curriculum.
Good news for preschool teachers in Vermont: Active Play Every Day, the new online training, is pre-approved for 6.5 professional development hours! New Hampshire and Washington have also approved the course. More coming! In other states, check with your licensing bureau.
Active Play Everyday is a 6.5 hour online interactive training, developed by the Early Sprouts Institute, that prepares early childhood educators to create early learning environments that deliberately and effectively integrate physical activity throughout the preschool day.
This interactive training prepares early childhood educators to integrate physical activity with learning throughout the preschool day.
Pre approved for 6.5 professional development hours in New Hampshire and Washington (STARS). In other areas, check with your state's licensing bureau.
This interactive course also covers what early childhood educators need to support picky eaters, engage families, plan menus, manage food allergies, and more.
Pre approved for seven professional development hours in New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington (STARS). In other areas, check with your state's licensing bureau.
We are often asked this question from early childhood educators: Should food be used for play?
Food can be a terrific learning tool when it is respected as something that nourishes and sustains us. Download our new Nutrition Tip Sheet to learn how to use food in a respectful way. You’ll also find a fun and easy activity on “Comparing Bell Peppers.”
Early childhood educators in many states (see list below) can now earn up to 10 professional development hours by successfully completing the Early Sprouts Online Course. Approvals from other states are in process. If your state is not listed below, check with your state’s child licensing bureau to see if online training courses can be used for professional development without prior approval.
The Early Sprouts Cookbook is packed with more than seventy child-tested and child-approved recipes that contribute to well-rounded diets for children and families. These recipes incorporate vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein, and other nutrient-rich ingredients into preschoolers’ meals—each aligning with MyPlate Nutrition Guide.