Life Lab

Life Lab cultivates children's love of learning, healthy food, and nature through garden-based education.

Making Garden Signs

In the Life Lab Garden Classroom, we consider a good sign to be one that
you don't have to repair year after year … unless, of course, you want
sign making to be a project for your students year after year. 

If making signs year after year, or having the flexibility of changing signs often is desirable, consider making blank signs with chalkboard paint (available at hardware stores). Paint on a smooth surface of wood or plexiglass. You can use chalk paint pens if you want the sign lettering to last longer than normal chalk.

By labeling the plants in their garden, kids learn about them and make
the connections between the foods they eat and the plants growing
in the garden. Adults also learn a lot from garden signs. Here in the
Garden Classroom, parents, teachers, and others often say, "Wow I never
knew artichokes could get that big," or "Kohlrabi sure is crazy looking!"
Labeling herbs often encourages folks to smell them, as if they were just
checking to make sure that the mint smells minty. Interpretive signs can
also enrich the educational potential of your garden.

Where you put your signs matters. Signs that face the sun will fade much
faster than those turned away from the sun. Is your sign post in an area
that is often wet? If so, consider rot resistant posts like plastic lumber
or metal. Setting wooden posts in concrete can extend the life of a
post considerably. And, of course, your target audience is an important
factor. Make sure to install your signs at kids' eye level so they can read
them.

Life Lab's Garden Sign DesignsSigns don't have to cost much, and most can be made with reused materials, as you can see in the photo gallery of school garden signs from across the nation.

If you are looking for more professional signs, check out our garden sign designs. These can be ordered on metal or vinyl.

Here are some of our favorite garden signs in the gallery:

  • Redwood Elementary in Ft. Bragg has individual letter stakes. Kids find each letter and stake in the word.
  • At the Garden of Eating, an Early Childhood Education Center in Novato, laminated velcro signs have pictographs instructing kids what they can eat or do with the plants.
  • In Life Lab's Garden Classroom, we have a Tree o' Tunes sign that we painting onto a discarded piece of plexiglass. It lasted for ten years. The post made from branches added a nice touch.

One last sign resource we like is Never Tear paper. You can print
or photocopy onto this plastic-like paper, which is much more fade
resistant that normal paper that has been laminated. If you have
digital images that you want made into signs, it is a good way to go.
Staples sells this product and, wouldn't you know, there is a site called
waterproofpaper.com

Captain Planet Learning Garden has educaitonal garden signs to download and print.

 

The Garden Signs Album is one of our many school garden photo galleries.

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Doron Comerchero, founder and director of FoodWhat?!, will interview Chadwick Garden manager Orin Martin tonight (Wednesday, July 12) on the FoodSpeaks show, 7-7:45 pm on KZSC, 88.1. Call with your comments and questions at 831-459-4036. Streaming: www.kzsc.org/listen/

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Having a great time in Portland, OR. Life Lab's John Fisher is presenting at the International Master Gardens Conference and the AHS National Children & Youth Gardening Symposium. Sharing and learning with 1,500+ garden educators.
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30 educators from across the country shared the power of garden-based learning. Mindfulness in the garden, transplanting with kids, bed prep, and bringing learning to life in the garden were just a few of the topics covered over the two days. Our next workshop is on Outdoor Classroom and Garden Program Management July 27th. ... See MoreSee Less

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Rachel PringleSenior Director of ProgramsEducation Outside

Life Lab has been the most innovative and relevant organization in this field. From providing the best curriculum to their cutting edge professional development, we have relied on Life Lab as our go to organization for support, ideas, and collaboration.

Erica CurryTraining and Professional Development ManagerFoodCorps

Life Lab provides truly inspiring training. Their breadth of experience, joy for teaching, and commitment to sharing knowledge highlight the best practices in food and garden education.

Sheila BrickenKindergarten TeacherSan Lorenzo Valley Elementary

Thank you for such a wonderful field trip experience! Your leaders did such a great job at keeping our kids engaged.

Tara NeierCamp ParentSummer camp mom

Terry had another awesome two weeks at Life Lab. I think he learns more there than in any other part of his year. School is great, but he’s passionate (and often dogmatic) about what he learns there.