Summer | Sun: Infants & Toddlers

Sun Catchers: A Garden in Your Window

Summary: One of the best reasons to cultivate a garden is all the delicious food you can grow. But gardens are also beautiful spots full of color and light. During this visit, we’ll collect a few snippets of the garden beauty to preserve and hang in a sunny window.

Pre-Visit Planning: 

  • Gather: Paper plates (1 per child), contact paper, scissors, hole punch, and ribbon. 
  • Explore: Stained-glass windows. Look for them at a local church or library. If you can, look at the windows at different times during the day to see how the sun changes the view. 
  • Read: Sunshine on My Shoulders by John Denver, Illustrated by Christopher Canyon 

In the Garden: 

We use the sun for light and heat, but it is also a great tool for creating art and helping us show off our garden bounty. 

Questions to Explore:

  • What do you find beautiful?
  • When you are feeling sad, what helps you cheer up? 
  • Do you like sunny or stormy days? Why? 
  • Is there a spot in the garden you like to visit? 


As important as gardens are for providing food, it is also important to remember that we need gardens to be beautiful places where we can connect with each other. The garden is a great neutral spot where you can check in on everyone’s physical and mental health. Today, we’re going to do an activity that lets us bring a little corner of garden sunshine home.

  • Cut out the center portion of your paper plate, leaving the ribbed outer edge as a frame. 
  • Trace the hole onto two sheets of contact paper and cut them out. 
  • Wander the garden and find a few leaves, flowers, and whatever else you’d like to preserve. 
  • Peel the contact paper open placing it on the center of the plate. Then design a pattern out of your materials—maybe a flower in the middle.
  • Place the other sheet of contact paper over your design, punch a hole in the top of the plate, string a ribbon through it, and hang in your window.

Beyond the Garden | Chasing Shadows, Art from the Sun 

Play a little more with the sunshine by creating art from shadows. 

  • Grab a box of blocks and head to a sunny sidewalk. Construct different shapes with your materials. 
  • Do any fun shadows emerge on the sidewalk? You can trace your creation onto a piece of paper or try to capture a photo!

Continue Exploring | Supporting Materials

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.