This week’s theme is Valentine’s Day. Our “Growing Minds Day by Day” educational resource lists are designed for families and educators to use during COVID-19 and beyond.
Growing Minds Day by Day
Week of February 8, 2021 – Valentine’s Day
Books for Monday, 2/8
The Thing About Bees: A Love Story
By Shabazz Larkin
A love poem from a father to his two sons, and a tribute to the bees that pollinate the foods we love to eat. Children are introduced to different kinds of bees, “how not to get stung,” and how the things we fear are often things we don’t fully understand. Recommended for ages 3-7. Watch a read aloud on Youtube. You can watch the author read an animated excerpt from the book here.
All the Places to Love
By Patricia MacLachlan
Each of Eli’s family members has a favorite place on their farm. His mother loves to visit a blueberry patch on the hill, and his grandfather feels most at home in the cool, peaceful barn. As he grows from infant to toddler to boy, Eli discovers that he loves the marsh where ducklings follow their mother. This book offers a unique child’s view on farm life and includes illustrations of farm animals and landscapes. Recommended for ages 4-8. Watch a read aloud on Youtube.
By David Peterson
Step out into a snowy Valentine’s Day with Jasper the bunny as he searches the forest valley for a special gift for his loved one. Will he find inspiration from other residents of the forest? Recommended for ages 4-8. Watch a read aloud on Youtube.
Find more books
Visit the Growing Minds’ farm to school literature database to discover more of our favorite children’s books.
Local Food Recipe for Tuesday, 2/9
Want to make a Valentine’s breakfast for your family? Overnight oats are a great choice, because you make them the night before you want to eat them, so you won’t even need to wake up extra early on Valentine’s Day! This simple, kid-friendly recipe features local apples.
Apple Pie Overnight Oats
- 1/3 cup rolled oats
- 1/2 cup chopped local apples
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond (or other) milk
- 1 tsp. honey
- 1/2 Tbsp. almond butter or peanut butter
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- Plastic container or mason jar
- Layer oats, milk, honey, almond butter, yogurt and apples into a mason jar or plastic container with a lid.
- Mix together with a spoon or a butter knife.
- Refrigerate overnight and enjoy for breakfast or a snack the next day.
Resources for Wednesday, 2/10
We’re excited to share a new Valentine’s Day-themed lesson plan with you this week! After reading the book The Thing About Bees: A Love Letter by Shabazz Larkin (read aloud shared above), teach your class or children to write letters. Like the author, children can write a love letter to an animal or an insect (or something else in nature) that they’re afraid of (or were once afraid of). Children will learn the components of a letter, and can then write their own Valentine’s Day letters to friends or family.
Educators can download a printable lesson plan for this activity.
Check out more of our February Farm to School Resources, including, lesson plans, local food recipes, children’s books, and This Week in the Garden activity guides.
Activity for Thursday, 2/11
Winter Birdseed Treats
Bonus: Doing this activity can earn kids a square on our Bird & Tree Bingo card!
- 2 1/2 cups of outdoor birdseed blend
- 2 packages unflavored gelatin (2 Tablespoons total)
- 2 Tablespoons corn syrup
- 1 cup water
- 12 cookie cutters (depending on their size)
- 3 drinking straws, cut into 2″ long pieces
- Twine, ribbon, or string
- Add 1/2 cup cold water to a large bowl.
- Pour the 2 packages of unflavored gelatin on top of the water and whisk.
- Whisk in 1/2 cup boiling water to the gelatin mixture and whisk until the gelatin is completely dissolved.
- Add the corn syrup and whisk until combined.
- Add the birdseed and mix well.
- Place the bowl in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes until the liquid firms up enough that it won’t leak out from under the cookie cutters.
- Set your cookie cutters onto a parchment lined baking sheet and fill them with spoonfuls of the birdseed mixture. Using the back of the spoon, press down the birdseed mixture firmly to fill in all the gaps. Fill the cookie cutters to the top.
- Press the drinking straws into each of the shapes leaving at least 1/2″ of space between the hole and the edge of the shape.
- Place the ornaments in the refrigerator overnight.
- To remove the cookie cutters, gently pull the metal away from the edges on all sides, then gently push the birdseed ornaments out of the cookie cutters. Gently pull the straws out.
- Thread a piece of twine, ribbon, or string through the hole and tie the ends in a knot.
- Hang the birdseed ornaments from tree branches, leaving room nearby for the birds to perch on while eating.
When you place the mixture in the refrigerator, right after you’ve added the gelatin to the birdseed, make sure you don’t keep it in the fridge for too long.
If any of the gelatin “breaks” when you stir it, you need to microwave the whole bowl to melt it and try again. The birdseed/gelatin mixture needs to be thickened slightly in the fridge until it has the consistency of a thick syrup. If the gelatin is set more than that before you spoon it into the cookie cutters, the ornaments will end up being crumbly. Just make sure it’s set enough so that it doesn’t all leak out from under the cookie cutters.
For more fun DIY kid’s projects visit onelittleproject.com
Freaky Friday, 2/12
Valentine Scavenger Hunt
Hearts are a symbol of love. What is something that you love about nature? Go for a walk in your school garden, yard, or neighborhood. If you can, bring a camera, or a journal/paper and pencil with you. As you walk, look closely at the natural world around you. Can you find anything that is heart-shaped in nature? Think creatively. Examine rocks, fallen leaves, moss, snow, plants, tree branches, bark, or clouds. Do you see anything that’s shaped like a heart? If you can’t find anything shaped like a heart, can you use leaves, twigs, or other objects to create your own heart shapes? When you find a heart, photograph it or draw a picture of it. How many hearts can you find or make?
That’s it for this week. Check back next week for new resources. Click here to access Day by Day resources from past weeks. If you didn’t find what you’re looking for here, please visit our Lesson Plans page.