This week’s theme is mud and soil. Welcome to “Growing Minds Day by Day”, a compilation of educational resources for use by families and educators during the COVID-19 quarantine (and beyond!). Each week, the Growing Minds team will select a theme related to food, gardens, or nature, and share thematic recommendations for children’s literature, activities, recipes, and online resources.
Growing Minds Day by Day
Week of March 30, 2020 – Mud and Soil
We hope these resources will provide you with inspiration, or at least a starting point, as you navigate this new world of social distancing and home-schooling. Here’s the weekly Day by Day schedule:
- Mondays – Books or Poems
- Tuesdays – Recipes
- Wednesdays – Online Resources
- Thursdays – Activity
- Fridays – “Freaky Friday” resource of our choice
Ready to dive in and get your hands dirty? This week’s theme is mud and soil!
Book of the Day for Monday, 3/30:
In honor of spring and our recent rainy days, this week’s suggested children’s book is Mud by Mary Lyn Ray. Mud is an ode to muddy hands and feet, brown earth, and new grass. If you don’t have this book in your at-home library, you can watch a video of this book being read aloud on YouTube.
Looking for more mud-themed children’s book ideas? Visit the Growing Minds’s farm to school literature database to browse our curated collection of recommended books on farms, gardening, and cooking. Type “dirt”, “mud” or “soil” into the search bar to find books that celebrate this week’s muddy theme.
Recipes of the Day for Tuesday, 3/31: Roasted Beets or Colorful Beet Saute, plus Dirt Cups for dessert!
Since beets are nutritious root vegetables known for their sweet, “earthy” flavor, they’re a perfect vegetable to highlight when learning about mud and soil. Introduce beets to kids by preparing a side dish of simple roasted beets with olive oil and salt, or a colorful beet and carrot saute (see recipe below).
Maybe your kids deserve a reward for trying beets for the first time? For a fun and delicious mud-themed dessert, make Dirt Cups! Dirt Cups give you the opportunity to discuss and make your own soil layers, also known as soil profiles. If you don’t have instant pudding mix at home, you can whip up your own batch of homemade chocolate pudding (extra points for using local eggs, milk and cream!). March 31 also happens to be National Walking Day, so enjoy a yummy treat as a family, then get outside and walk off that pudding!
Colorful Beet and Carrot Saute, from The Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen
- 2 medium beets
- 1 medium carrot
- 1 clove crushed garlic
- ¾ c. orange juice
- 2 Tbs. butter or olive oil
- Salt & pepper to taste
Peel and coarsely grate the beets and carrot. Cook the garlic gently in the butter or oil for 2 minutes, then add the remaining ingredients. Cook, stirring, over medium heat 5-8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Get your young cooks involved: Depending on their age, kids can help with peeling and grating the vegetables and measuring the ingredients.
Online Resources of the Day for Wednesday, 4/1: Soil Science Lesson Plans and Preschool Mud Activities
The Growing Minds website features several soil-themed lesson plans that can be adapted to the home garden or classroom: Soil Exploration, Soil Temperature, and Soil Amendments. These lesson plans are geared for grades K-2, but could be adapted for other ages. Our Soil Jeopardy lesson plan is designed for grades 4-5. You can find a great list of K-12 soil experiments and hands-on activities–including soil painting, soil colors, and soil properties–compiled by the Soil Science Society of America at soils4kids.org.
Click here for a list of muddy arts and crafts and play-based activities geared toward preschoolers. While International Mud Day (yes that’s a thing!) is officially celebrated on June 29, playing in the mud is fun every day.
Activity of the Day for Thursday, 4/2: Mud Painting!
Mud Painting is an outside activity. Give each child a large piece of paper and have them finger paint with mud. Can they find multiple colors of mud? Have them make imprints with different leaves.
Freaky Friday, 4/3: Rainbow Connection
Did you know that April 3 is National Find a Rainbow Day? For the past few weeks, people around the world who are practicing social distancing have been decorating their windows with rainbow art as a way of staying connected with the community. What better way to celebrate National Find a Rainbow Day than by having kids create their own “window rainbows” to brighten the spirits of neighbors and passersby.
Want to get the creative juices flowing? Set the mood for your rainbow arts and crafts session by joining Kermit the Frog for an online sing-along of the Rainbow Connection. After you post your handmade rainbows, go for a walk and see if you can spot any other rainbows in the neighborhood.
Take the lesson further and make a “rainbow connection” to food. Talk to your kids about the importance of eating the rainbow, aka eating fruits and vegetables of many different colors in order to maintain a healthy, nutritious diet.
That’s it for this week. Next week’s Growing Minds Day by Day theme will be Bees and Pollinators. “Bee” sure to check back next week for new resources!