Growing Tomatoes — Great Activity For a Pre-Schooler

What started out as a project for my mother to entertain my three-year-old son when I got home from the hospital with my new baby, has become a new family activity.

My mother stayed at my house with my son when I was in the hospital and decided that one of their projects together was going to be buying and planting a tomato plant. They made the pilgramage to the Target garden center to buy the supplies: baby tomato plant (sans tomatoes), potting soil and a small tomato trellis. I had tons of empty pots laying around in my backyard from years of abuse. I had given up on gardening long ago.

One afternoon they went outside and planted the tomato plant together and placed it in a sunny spot in the front yard. She explained to him (and to me) that it would need to be watered every single day. Admittedly, this worried me. With a newborn and a pre-schooler I felt I had enough to do without having to worry about not killing a plant. But, I knew that my son needed something special.

Within days we say the plant grow. It kept getting bigger and bigger. My son was intrigued.

Having the plant in a spot (the front yard in our case) where you spend a lot of time is key. Each time we would leave the house, I would point out something I noticed about the plant:

It’s growing taller.

Look at all the leaves.

LOOK, there’s a tiny tomato!

LOOK, there’s another tomato.

LOOK! The tomato is getting SO BIG!

LOOK! The plant is double it’s size!

LOOK! How many tomatoes do you see? FIVE? WOW!

I started to tell him how the tomato would get bigger and when it turns red we’d be able to pick it and EAT IT. This intrigues him. So, finally, just the other day, my son noticed one of the tomatoes starting to turn red. It’s an orange shade right now. Then, a couple more started turning red.

LOOK! They are turning red!

It’s been a great experience and give us something to do together each day. I like that it also teaches him some responsibility by having to water the plant. Even though this task only take five minutes of our day, it gives us some time alone to do something great together. Take a look at the photos below. I was able to practice with my new lens to capture these photos.

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{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Jean Lewis April 27, 2009, 11:01 am

    WOW! I am impressed and tickled to death. These will taste so yummy. So sweet. I love you guys!

  • Ashley April 27, 2009, 1:10 pm

    My mom grew tomatoes with my sisters and me when we were kids, and it was definitely just like you depicted here. I think gardening with us was one of the sweetest things my mom did for us when we were little.

    … other than letting us help paint her whirligigs. (http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&q=whirligigs&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wi) which, incidentally look GREAT in your home garden. :o)

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