This week’s theme is “April showers bring May flowers!” Our “Growing Minds Day by Day” educational resource lists are designed for families and educators to use during the COVID-19 quarantine and beyond.
Growing Minds Day by Day
Week of May 4, 2020 – April Showers Bring May Flowers
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. If you don’t find what you’re looking for here, be sure to check out our Lesson Plans page.
Book for Monday, 5/4: Chicks and Salsa
This week’s recommended book of the day is Chicks and Salsa by Aaron Reynolds. In this story, the animals on the Nuthatcher’s farm are tired of eating the same thing every day. One day, the rooster watches a cooking show and learns to make a delicious salsa that stops everyone’s grumbling.
Watch a read-aloud of Chicks and Salsa on YouTube, then make a batch of springtime Strawberry Salsa with your children using the recipe below.
Finally, read the poem below to celebrate this week’s transition from April to May. After reading the poem together, have your child illustrate the poem or write a journal entry about their favorite parts of spring.
by John Updike
It’s spring! Farewell
To chills and cold!
The blushing, girlish
Each flower, leaf,
And blade of turf—
Small love-notes sent
From air to earth.
The sky’s a herd
Of prancing sheep,
The birds and fields
And jonquils, tulips,
Bloom bright upon
The wide-eyed hills.
All things renew.
All things begin.
At home, they bring
The lilies in.
Looking for more garden-themed children’s books? Visit the Growing Minds’ farm to school literature database to browse our collection of recommended books. Type “flowers”, “spring”, or “May” into the search bar to discover more books that align with this week’s theme.
Recipe for Tuesday, 5/5: Strawberry Salsa for Cinco de Mayo
Today is Cinco de Mayo, an annual celebration observed in some parts of Mexico and the US on the fifth day of May. May also marks the start of local strawberry season in Western North Carolina and the surrounding regions. Strawberry plants are members of the rose family, and their flowers are white with a yellow center. The flowers emerge on plants in spring and grow into strawberry fruits covered with external seeds after being pollinated by wind and insects.
Today, in honor of Cinco de Mayo and the beginning of strawberry season, mix up a batch of springtime Strawberry Salsa with your kids, featuring fresh strawberries, green onions, cilantro, and lime juice. Kids can… help slice up the strawberries, squeeze the limes, and mix together the salsa ingredients.
Tip: re-grow your green onions
Don’t toss out those green onion roots! Did you know that you can easily regrow your green onions indoors? Cut off the bottom inch or two of each green onion above the roots. Place the roots in a glass or jar filled with enough water to cover the roots, but make sure the onion tops are not submerged. Place the jar in a sunny windowsill and wait a few days. You will quickly see the tops of the onions begin to regrow. Snip off the new green tops of the onions as needed, leaving the bulbs to continue re-growing in your jar.
Find a farmers market near you
If you live in ASAP’s Appalachian Grown region, you can click here to find a farmers market near you that offers local produce, eggs, dairy, and meat. If you’re local to Asheville, consider shopping safely at the new ASAP Farmers Market at A-B Tech, organized in response to the COVID-19 emergency to ensure public health. The market takes place on Thursdays and Saturdays from 9 am to noon. SNAP/EBT benefits are accepted at the ASAP Farmers Market. Visit ASAP at fromhere.org to see what’s available this week at Asheville-area farmers markets.
Online Resources for Wednesday, 5/6: Gardening Lesson Plans
Growing Minds Lesson Plans
This week we’re recommending the following Growing Minds lesson plans for younger children:
- Watering the Garden: children will explore both dry and wet soils and practice watering plants in the garden.
- Garden Color Hunt: children will explore the garden and practice garden rules. They’ll also learn to observe and look closely in the garden by beginning to recognize and appreciate different colors.
- Seasons on a Farm: children will explore how seasonal changes affect the garden and create a calendar for the four seasons.
Gro More Good Lesson Plans
If you’re looking for more garden themed lesson plans to use at home with children ages Pre-K through third grade, check out the Gro More Good learning activities, which feature activities for all four seasons. In the spring section, you’ll find activities related to air, soil, critters, sun, soil, and water. All lessons in this series were developed in partnership with the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center.
Activities for Thursday, 5/7: Cupcake Flowers & Crazy Caterpillars
Baking Cup Flowers
For this craft, you’ll need glue, paper baking cups, paper and crayons. Let your child create flowers by gluing flattened paper baking cups on paper, then drawing the flower’s stems, leaves, and even garden critters using crayons. Or, show your child how to glue a standing baking cup on top of a flattened one to make a “daffodil.” To add to the fun, place a drop of perfume on each flower for sniffing.
Bake a Crazy Caterpillar
- First make milk paint by dividing a can of sweetened condensed milk among four containers. Use food coloring to tint the contents of the containers different colors. Add clean paint brushes to each one.
- On a foil-lined baking sheet, arrange refrigerated biscuits in the shape of a caterpillar body. Leave one biscuit for the head. To this biscuit, add two raisins for eyes, two pretzel sticks for the antennae, and paint on a mouth.
- Have your child(ren) paint the biscuits. When finished, break pretzel sticks in half and poke two pieces into each biscuit for legs.
- Bake the biscuits as directed. After everyone has admired the finished product, take it apart to eat. Provide honey from the farmers market if you wish. You can get even more creative by designing biscuit butterflies. Have fun!
This Week in the Garden
Check out the Growing Minds This Week in the Garden (TWIG) newsletter for the first week in May for more garden-related activities, recipes, journal topics, and tips.
Freaky Friday, 5/8: Pitter-Patter Rain Stick
Pitter-patter Rain Stick
Celebrate the life-bringing rains of spring by making a rain stick. You’ll need a cardboard paper towel tube or gift wrap tube, two 6” circles of colorful paper, two rubber bands, uncooked rice, colorful yarn, and stickers or markers.
- Use markers (or stickers) to decorate the tube.
- Wrap a circle cutout over one end of the tube and use a rubber band to secure it in place.
- Pour the rice into the tube.
- Seal the open end of the tube as described in Step 2.
- Wrap colorful lengths of yarn around each end of the tube to cover the rubber bands. Knot the yarn and trim the ends as desired.
To hear the pleasing sound of falling rain, gently tip the rain stick back and forth and listen.
That’s it for this week. Next week’s Growing Minds Day by Day theme will be Bugs & Insects! Check back next week for new resources, and click here to access Day by Day resources from past weeks.