Winter | Plants: Grades 1-3

Plant Planning: Preparing for Spring 

Summary: It can be easy during wintertime to forget that anything green or growing exists, but underneath that snow or brown dirt are endless possibilities lying dormant awaiting spring! As the gardener, you get to make decisions about the plant designs you want to create come spring.

Before Visiting the Garden: 

  • Gather: Notebook, pencil, ruler, and measuring tape. You can also bring a camera if you want to document the space. 
  • Explore: Oiling, 2012 by Faig Ahmed: Can you imagine this carpet is like our garden, a tangled mess of roots underground but exploding into a beautiful pattern above the soil?
  • Read: The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall and illustrated by Shari Halpern

In the Garden: 

Winter is an essential pause in the busy rhythm of the garden. It is a time for us to take stock of what we have on hand for spring and what we need to purchase and/or plan to do once the ground begins to thaw. 

Questions to Explore:

  • What areas of our garden need to be rebuilt? Are there fences that came down or garden beds that need fixing? 
  • If you could change one thing in the garden, what would it be?
  • Are there places you see in the garden where you could create additional space for planting?
  • What are you most excited about for spring? 


  1. Today, we are going to prep for spring by creating a detailed garden map. 
  2. Use your measuring tape to measure the size of the different beds and plant spaces in your garden.
  3. Draw a map to scale in your notebook using your ruler. You can create a map key on the page by drawing a short line with your ruler and writing how much length in feet that line represents. That helps you translate from your small map to the actual size of your garden. 
  4. Bring your map home and begin to research the plants you want to have in your garden. If you know that tomato plants require a certain amount of space between them, use your map to determine the best spot and/or how many plants you can fit into a particular garden bed. Once spring is here, bring your garden plans with you on the first day of planting! 

Beyond the Garden | Maps, Maps, and More Maps

Maps are used for all sorts of things from telling us about the weather to helping us get from point A to point B. Maps are a type of information design, helping us understand our world. Spend some time collecting different maps then talk about which ones are the most useful and why!

Continue Exploring | Supporting Materials

Pick your plants:

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.