Gardens can grow much more learning, fun, and kindergarten readiness than science and connections to nature; they can also stimulate imaginations and art. Seeds get planted in gardens, but the magic seeds that Jack planted grew a beanstalk that reached to the sky. What might happen if other seeds were magic too?
To stretch imaginations, tell a story about a garden where all kinds of different things grow. How about a cookie tree? Or maybe one with all kinds of books and puzzles? A pizza plant would be a favorite. Kids come up with all kinds of suggestions like a hockey bush, a pancake and syrup tree, a Transformer tree, and an ice cream tree. They can tell their own stories about some magic garden seeds and what they grow.
To go along with the story, kids may want to paint or draw about their tree or plant. Can you tell how this one was made? The trunk and branches are a hand, traced and cut out. There are already stories about a spaghetti bush; what would that look like? Kids can also make some garden creations with playdough or pipe cleaners or other materials.
Imagination is vital for thinking. In order to think about something that we are not experiencing at any particular moment, we need to be able to imagine it. Imagination is also important for relating to others. When we ask a child, “How would you feel if someone took away your toy?” the child has to imagine the feelings of the other person. It’s also critical for safety, as we try and tell our children that it can be dangerous to cross the street without looking. We want them to see what could happen in their mind or imagine the situation.
Because imagination is so important, kids need opportunities to use it. Talking about magic garden seeds, telling stories, and making some with art materials creates another kind of magic. Are some ideas sprouting at your house?