1. Sensory: sunshine, dirt, water, smells, and after things grow, taste and texture (feeding issues). The kids could get dirty scratching around the soil, planting seeds, watering them, and eating the product of their labor.
2. Vocabulary: Plenty of opportunities to learn new words from pre-k to teens: parts of plants, fruits, vegetables, gardening tools, science from germination to photosynthesis, weather, ...
3. Language & Verbal Expression: My philosopy is that experiential learning is the best kind: Requesting, discussing, describing, instructing, sequencing.... Use children's literature for whole language learning experiences.
Of course, there are other fun plant activities that do not require making your own garden (easier too):
- Planting seeds in a cup and watching them grow.
- Using an egg carton and planting grass seed into an eggshell (combines Spring and Easter). Crack the top 1/4 to 1/3 off of an egg, remove egg, fill with soil, plant seed, draw on a face, the seed grow to be "hair" and the kids can then give it a haircut.
- Place a wet napkin or paper towel in a plastic baggie. Drop in a bean. Tape to a sunny window. As the bean sprouts, the clear bag allows the forming of roots and shoots to be observed. Dampen the paper towel as needed. Can transplant to a cup or pot later.
Craft activties abound:
Tear out shapes from white paper and glue to a blue backround.
Paint white clouds on blue. Can even inkblot them by folding the paper.
Cotton ball or batting clouds.
Sponge painted clouds
Clouds with raindrops dangling down
Eric Carle inspired: Paint some paper with a mixture of color and texture and cut our cloud shapes.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Waiting for Wings by Lois Ehlert
Watch Me Grow Butterfly a DK book