A garden is just a garden, right? What is so interesting about a garden? Well, what you grow in the garden can teach your children many things like the fact that colors can have flavor, texture, and smell. A garden can teach you about how time can be measured more than with days, weeks, and months. So what’s in the garden?
For my current little one in the house, we were fortunate to pick some tomatoes and watermelon from a garden that we help at once a week during late summer and fall. This was a perfect opportunity to teach my daughter about the color red, green, black.
Before giving the fruit, or vegetable to your child, describe the color. Not all watermelons are red inside. Not all tomatoes are red either. Even on the same fruit, or vegetable there can be multiple colors. Point those out 🙂
Learning about a color of a fruit, or vegetable is very important because they learn when it is ripe to eat, or best to eat it. Talking about when a tomato gets red and what color is it when it begins to grow is very important to learn and it gives them the opportunity to understand why certain colors of food is so important to know before eating it. Why do we not eat the tomato when it is green? We eat celery when it is green, why not tomatoes?
To learn about flavor of a fruit or vegetable, it is easy to just have the child eat it. For smell, have the child smell it and ask it the smell and taste are the same, or different. For example, some people can tell if they are smelling cilantro, but the taste to them is like eating grass.
On another thought, what does the rind, which is green, taste like when you take a bite of it? What anything green taste like and smell like? How about the color black? Black berries and black cherries are great examples of black fruit! What about a banana that goes from green, to yellow, to brown, to black? What does a banana taste like and smell like when it is those colors and when would we eat them, or use them to cook with? In other words, give your child the experience to find out these certain characteristics of food that we sometimes take for granted.
For texture, I know people who might describe a tomato has mushy, slimy, or juicy. It just depends on the person who is tasting that tomato at that moment. The same can go for a the texture of watermelon. 🙂
So what does color, smell, texture, and taste have to do with learning about math? When we take the little moments to help our children understand the relevance of color, smell, texture, and taste of what we eat, we are giving our children an opportunity to understand the world they are living in. By also taking the time to explore the characteristics of fruit and vegetables we prepare the child to use more vocabulary in describing something. In mathematics, exploration, understanding relevance, finding more ways to describe something, and looking for patterns is very important.
Think about time for a moment, time can be measured by seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, and years. But when we look at vegetables and fruit, time can also be measured in the color that a vegetable turns. Time can also be measured in terms of the texture and smell that a certain vegetable and fruit produces. It is very important to understand time this way because it teaches us to understand when a certain vegetable, or fruit from our garden is ready to eat.
When we can think of different ways to describe what goes on in our world, like produce from the garden, the more interested we might become in exploring other situations around us. The more different ways we can see a garden, the deeper the understanding we can develop about how a garden works and what goes on in a garden and this can all start with your little one.
Something to Think About:
Mathematics becomes more interesting when we think it is connected to things in our life because it really is. When we give our children the opportunity to see it in their early years, the less of a struggle it will be when they get older. We all, at some point, need to know why we need to learn something and that, my friend, is called relevance.
I have come across this need for relevance many times when I taught students in the classroom, also other teachers in mathematics, with my own learning, and with my children. We all want to know why we need to learn something and that is a good thing. When we see that it is part of our everyday life, then we are more open to learning about it. All this, from a garden. So what’s in your garden?