Try these activities with the infants in your program:

Find flowers that babies can pick. If there are dandelions or tiny wild daisies or blue veronica flowers in the grass around the school, babies can enjoy gathering as many of these flowers as they wish.

Plant flowers that babies can sniff, such as hyacinths. These low-growing flowers have a powerful fragrance in early spring, and they come in a variety of dazzling, jewel-like colors. Also plant perennial fall hostas in a shady part of the garden. In the autumn, hostas have a strong, sweet scent that will enrapture babies who push their noses deep into the large white blooms.

Take babies out on a trip to a rose garden when the blooms are at their peak of beauty and fragrance. All children love delicious scents. If there is a rose garden in the park near your school, take them to visit it in June. Be sure to model how to be gentle with a flower. If the babies have learned gentle touch, they may even be able to caress the velvety flower petals.


Try these activities with toddlers:

Take pictures of plants as they sprout as they unfurl leaves, and as they produce buds and then flowers. Ask parents to bring in photos of the children when they were tiny babies, then bigger babies who could sit up, then toddlers just learning to walk. Talk to the toddlers about how they have been growing. Now talk to them about how they are watching plants and flowers growing from very tiny to bigger and even bigger.

Teach colors of different blooms. Can the toddlers find different color flowers in a bed of tulips? Talk about short and tall plants. Can toddlers point to a tiny plant growing close to the ground? Can they find a tall plant?

Snowballs (hydrangeas) last all summer. If there is a bush that is full of flowers, a teacher can cut some and arrange them in a vase with water for toddlers to enjoy indoors.

Share books that display colorful pictures of plant and animal life, including insects that children may have noticed outdoors, such as grasshoppers, ants, and bees.

Teach children the names of a few easy-to-recognize flowers. Display large colorful pictures, and, if possible, take toddlers outside to see flowers growing naturally. Help toddlers learn the names of a few flowers. Express pleasure and pride when toddlers recognize and name flowers, such as daisies or roses. Sharing picture books about plants and creatures reinforces children's pride in recognizing familiar creatures of nature.