Preschool Pruning

Backyard Adventures: Preschool Pruning

Recommended Age:
3 years+
Materials:
Age-appropriate Scissors (We found our preschool scissors at the dollar store)
*optional container to put clippings in as you walk since hands can get full or crush delicate leaves
Time:
Dedicate 10 minutes to start but you will find little ones won’t want to stop.
Mission:
To search, observe and collect a variety of plant leaves among the grass.
Goal:
To increase hand strength and coordination using scissors while identifying differences and similarities between leafs including colors, textures and pattern.

With a closer look, Norah started to see differences among the plants. She was able to see in a sea of green all the different species.

Prep work:
First, check your yard for any plants that should not be touched, such as poison ivy. Definitely make a point to SHOW plants we should not touch to your little one(s). It is good for them to be able to identify those plants. For this activity, be familiar with your yard. If you don’t know a plant, observe and move on.
Second, it is important we keep a balance between “collection” and “destruction”. One remarkable quality of (most) plants is that you can collect a leaf, a flower, or a berry without any damage to the plant. I encourage all students (small and tall) to be hands-on when safe to do so.
This is a great time to teach children to only take what you need. It is important to harvest only what you need so the plant can survive. I also encouraged my little one to collect flowers from ‘weeds’ such as violets and dead nettle growing among the grass. Again, we only took the flowers we needed. We left some, actually most, for the pollinators.

Using scissors, we clipped blades of grass.

Activity:
Grab your materials and head OUTSIDE with your little one(s). Using scissors, the little one(s) can cut off a leaf from a grassy plant in the yard. To avoid it getting lost in the wind or smooshed in a pocket, we used a plastic container to hold our clippings. We layed with our bellies against the Earth to look for different plants. Quickly, my L.O. saw differences in the greens. Some were light green, some were dark green. We looked at the different lines, patterns and textures among the different blades of grass. Eventually a sea of green became exciting because there were so many different plants that made up our yard. Each time she found a new plant, she would share her excitement with me and ask if we could take a clipping. This is a “proud naturalist mama moment”. What did we do with our clippings? Check this out!

Her scissors didn’t cut through everything but that didn’t stop her from trying.

Follow up: Leafy Letters Activity

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