Fall | Air: Infants & Toddlers

Weather: Follow That Cloud!

Summary: As your tiny gardener grows, we can help him or her develop a visual vocabulary (by looking at high contrast images) and increase word vocabulary (by telling stories and narrating experiences together). 

Before Visiting the Garden: 

Gather: Cotton balls or batting (can be found at a craft/fabric store), an ice cube, and watering can  

Explore: “Head in the Clouds” by Georgia O’Keeffe. Imagine you are in this painting, can you pretend to hop from cloud to cloud? 

Read: It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles Shaw

In the Garden: 

Clouds help us predict the weather, an important task for gardeners, but they also help us exercise an important muscle for growing brains—the imagination muscle! 

Questions to Explore:

Do you see any clouds today? Can you point to them? 

What color are the clouds? What color is the sky?

Can you name any shapes that you see in the sky?

Are there any cloud shadows in your garden? If you get underneath the cloud, are you in shadow?


After exploring the sky, spend a little time with your cotton batting as a stand-in for clouds. 

  1. Talk about how clouds can sometimes bring rain and sprinkle a little water from your watering can through the cotton onto you gardener’s hand. 
  2. Clouds can also bring hail and snow so have your gardener touch an ice cube through the cotton. 
  3. Sit together; preferably in the shadow of a cloud, and using the book It Looked Like Spilt Milk as a prompt, create some stories together about the clouds you see. 

Beyond the Garden | Sensory Cloud Art:

A can of shaving cream and a clean surface can equate to endless sensory fun. Simply squirt shaving cream onto a clean surface (or inside the bathtub for easy cleanup) and allow your gardener to create cloud patterns using their fingers or toys with wheels, a fork, cooking cutters—your imagination is the limit. Be sure to monitor mouths, though, as some little people will be tempted to eat their clouds! 

Continue Exploring | Supporting Materials:

Learn about different types of clouds: http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/evscps.sci.life.clouds/clouds-and-weather/

Note for Parents:
Each lesson suggests you explore a piece of artwork and read a specific book with your child. The artwork and books are easily available for view with an online search. However, these suggestions are not necessary to complete the lessons.

Guiding Principles


Learning, though not always visible, is always happening. The lessons are designed using inquiry as a base. Rather than “right answers” be more concerned with asking good questions.


Things may not go as planned. The lessons are designed to be used in whatever way works best for you. You can use all of the lesson or just pull a piece out of it.


Planting and cultivating a garden is believing in possibility. The lessons are designed to generate excitement about the future.


Each lesson includes a way to take the learning out into the community for more learning and more connection.


When a young child’s innate curiosity is unleashed in a garden the possibilities are endless. Any topic is open for exploration.


You will get dirty. There will be bugs.