Life Lab

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

Category : Lessons & Activities

Webinar and Curriculum – The Soil Story: Unearthing Connections Between Climate Change, the Food We Eat, and Human Health

  NOAA Planet Stewards Education Project webinar The Soil Story: Unearthing Connections Between Climate Change, the Food We Eat, and Human Health presented by Jessica Handy, Education Coordinator for Kiss the Ground, and Whitney Cohen, Education Director of [...]

Article tags: , , , ,

Read more



Independent Stations – Caretaking and Monitoring the Garden

A garden classroom is wonderful space for children to "take ownership" of a corner of their school. Here are examples and resources for independent stations that contribute to garden caretaking and/or engage students in the scientific practice of observation. Many of [...]

Read more



Garden Pathways

101 Ways to Connect Learning to the Garden Gardening Project Map created in the early 1980s by Vicki Greenhouse for her 2nd & 3rd grade students in Lincoln, Vermont. Orginally published in Life Lab's The Growing Classroom in 1982, reproduced in c [...]

Article tags:

Read more



1,700+ Educators Trained in California School Garden Training Program

The California School Garden Training Program (CSGT) trained 1,729 educators from 2012- June, 2014. It includes workshops on Creating and Sustaining Your School Garden (CSYSG) and Garden-Enhanced Nutrition Education (GENE). CSGT also conducts Train-the-Trainer Works [...]

Article tags: ,

Read more



How Do Schools Compost?

A senior intern at Life Lab, Savannah Rugg, created a composting in schools survey (still open!) to better understand how composting functions in schools and school-districts. The survey asks questions regarding types of composting, compost materials, compost manageme [...]

Article tags: ,

Read more



Common Core in the Garden

Here at Life Lab, we have cross-mapped every lesson in The Growing Classroom with the new Common Core Math and Language Arts standards and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) being rolled out in schools across the country! We&# [...]

Article tags: , ,

Read more



Inquiry in the Garden Webinar

Life Lab's Education Director Whitney Cohen led an enthusiastic webinar on Inquiry in the Garden as part of EdWeb's Growing School Gardens Community.  Inquiry in the Garden: Facilitating Student-Led Investigations for Grades K-8 Webinar covers how to create [...]

Read more


The Fine Art of Flower Pounding – Making Floral Prints Video

Here's a great art activity to do with flower petals. Download this lesson and some others from The Book of Gardening Projects for Kids: 101 Activities to Get Outside, Dirty and Having Fun! View more activities in our easy garden activity video playli [...]

Article tags: , ,

Read more



Farm and Garden Jokes

Knock, Knock... Have a joke or riddle of your own? Share it in the comments below. What did the doctor remove from her salad? Kidney beans! Why do worms act so frightened? They have no backbone. What is an ant? A hard-working bug that still finds time to go to lots [...]

Article tags:

Read more



Book Review: Our School Garden! by Rick Swann

Books reflect our lives and the times that we are living, as the details that form the content weave cultural elements of any given place and time into the words. For this reason, seeing a children’s book about school gardens is a heartening symbol of our current [...]

Article tags: ,

Read more


Seed Saving Resources

Educator Resources for Teaching About Seeds A Handful of Seeds: Seed-Saving and Seed Study for Educators - free download with practical information on seed saving in the school garden and seed history and lore. Fedco Seeds has multiple seed fundraising oppo [...]

Article tags: ,

Read more



Make A Human Sundial

The human sundial in our garden never fails to fascinate children and adults alike. To use it a person stands on the appropriate month marked on the ground and their shadow is cast on a numbered marker that tells the time. A human sundial or analemmatic sundial dif [...]

Article tags: ,

Read more



2012 ~ Family Gardening Book

Order Now View front and back cover [...]

Article tags:

Read more


Feeling Fine with Fresh Foods Lesson Packet

Feeling Fine With Fresh Foods Lesson packet from our Feeling Fine with Fresh Foods Field Trip. Our winter field trip helps students make the important connection between their health and the foods they choose. Classes explore our Garden Classroom and the UCSC Farm, and [...]

Article tags: ,

Read more


Six Seed Trail Mix

A great extension to a seed study lesson. Make a trail mix of edible seeds while students practice math skills. While eating your trail mix discuss all the ways we eat seeds and grains. Download seed cards and lesson. [...]

Article tags:

Read more


“Help! I’m the New Garden Parent” – Online Lessons and Resources for Garden Educators

Recently, my friend who has become the "garden parent" for her son's school lamented to me, "I know how to garden, but what am I going to do with 10 kindergarteners in the garden?" There is a world of difference between gardening in your yard and [...]

Article tags: , , ,

Read more


Worm Composting Resources and Video

We like our red worms that compost for us at the Garden Classroom. Here are some resources for you to learn and teach about red worms. Life Lab's Ultimate School Composting Website   The Worm Guide: Vermicomposting Guide for Teachers [...]

Article tags: , ,

Read more


Garden Scavenger Hunts

Many teachers break large groups of students into smaller groups in order to facilitate meaningful learning opportunities in the garden. By designing some activities that a small, supervised group of students can accomplish independently, teachers are able to divide the [...]

Article tags: ,

Read more


How Do You Say “Rake” In Spanish? – Spanish Language Garden Resources

Over the years we have been asked, "Do you have any garden-based education resources in Spanish?" Here's a nice collection of resources for teaching and working in school and community gardens with Spanish speakers:   For Ga [...]

Article tags: ,

Read more



My Edible Garden

Create edible art or a garden cracker with humus "soil" and veggie piece "plants".  We have used this lesson as an edible art activity, to teach about plant parts, and to eat the rainbow of colors in the garden. Download the lesson and have fun. [...]

Article tags: ,

Read more


Farm and Garden Educator Resource Round-up

Farm and Garden Educator Resources that were shared during the "On the farm and in the garden educators" bus tour. 2011 Eco-Farm Bus Tour visited Cesar Chavez Middle School in Watsonville, De LaVeaga School in Santa Cruz, The Life Lab Garden Classro [...]

Article tags:

Read more


Chard, Eat It!

Not only is chard a delicious and amazingly healthy addition to any dish, as evident in all of the following recipes, it is also easy to grow in most regions. A great source for tips in starting your very own chard patch can be found at Organic Gardening. The history of [...]

Article tags: ,

Read more


Worm Bin Bingo

Materials: Fresh, "living" worm compost. Download and print up worm bin bingo pages and laminate or cover in plastic sleeves. Pennies, beans, or other small items to mark bingo cards. Tweezers, hand lenses, and/or sticks to explore worm compost.   [...]

Article tags: ,

Read more


Free Garden Science Exploration Units

Created with lessons from the K-5 Life Lab Science Curriculum and The Growing Classroom. These units have 6 lessons each and are available as a PDF download or purchased as a set of four from our store Download the following units: 1st Grade - Pon [...]

Article tags:

Read more


New Publications for Families and Pre-school Educators

Our two new publications will help get families and wee-ones exploring the garden!Sowing the Seeds of Wonder - Discovering the Garden in Early Childhood EducationThrough hands-on activities preschool-age children will engage all of their senses as they di [...]

Article tags:

Read more


“Back Pocket” Garden Activities

The following videos demonstrate what we, here at Life Lab, refer to as "back pocket activities." These are all quick, easy, and highly engaging activities that require minimal preparation. We suggest always having one or more of these activities ready to go (or "in [...]

Article tags: , ,

Read more


Middle School Social Science Lessons

These lessons have been developed to bring garden-based nutrition education and California standards-based social studies curriculum together. We believe that food history is an integral part of understanding culture and that experiential lessons in the garden and cooki [...]

Article tags: ,

Read more


Compost Sifting Lesson

Garden instructor Jane Forbes of Westlake K-5 in Santa Cruz, CA teaches 2nd graders about compost. This 13 minute video is created from a 45 minute lesson of children learning about decomposition by sifting composting and exploring the garden. [...]

Article tags: ,

Read more


School Garden Learning Stations

3rd Grade Mar Vista Elementary School Teacher Colleen Riggen and parent volunteers lead students in garden activities. [...]

Article tags:

Read more


“Salad Bowl” Fundraiser Lesson

Garden Teacher Caprice Potter leads 4th graders in potting up "cut and come salad bowls" for Gateway's School Garden Plant Sale. Visit the Gateway school garden blog to learn more about year round teaching at the Gateway garden [...]

Article tags:

Read more


Lettuce Spring Roll Lesson Video

Garden Nutrition Educator Jessica Curcio leads a small group of first grade students in the Gault School Garden Kitchen. [...]

Article tags: , ,

Read more


Creating School Garden Rules

Hear from three Life Lab Garden Instructors and one 3rd Grade Teacher on how they generate and share their school garden rules. View our post and resources for Managing an Effective Outdoor Classroom. [...]

Article tags: ,

Read more


40 Years of School Garden Instruction

The following videos are interviews with Garden Teacher Jane Forbes of Westlake K-5, 3rd Grade Teacher Colleen Riggen of Mar Vista K-5, and Garden Teacher Caprice Potter of Gateway K-8. Collectively these three garden educators have close to 40 years of teaching childre [...]

Article tags:

Read more


Spring Scavenger Hunt

Garden Instructor Susan Dahlgren leads first graders in a garden scavenger hunt. This 7 minute video highlights a 20 minute lesson at Gault K-5 School Garden in Santa Cruz, CA. [...]

Article tags: ,

Read more


Flower Anatomy Lesson

Caprice Potter has been a garden teacher since 1987 at Gateway K-8 in Santa Cruz, CA. This 13 minute video highlights a 40 minute flower anatomy lesson taught in the spring of 2008. Visit the Gateway Life Lab Garden blog to learn more what's being taught in the garden. [...]

Article tags:

Read more


2007 ~ The Growing Classroom New Edition!

This new edition of The Growing Classroom is pulished by our friends at the National Gardening Association and help to bring a fresh look and needed revisions to one of the be garden-based learning publications in print. [...]

Article tags: ,

Read more


1994 ~ 4th-5th Grade Science Curriculum

Videodiscovery publishes 4th and 5th grade Life Lab Science Curriculum. [...]

Article tags:

Read more


1992 ~ Life Lab Science Curriculum

Videodiscovery publishes Kindergarten - Third grade science curriculum. This curriculum is disseminated throughout the country training 10s of thousands of educators.< --Life Lab Science Laser Disc Cover [...]

Article tags: ,

Read more


follow us on Facebook

6 days ago

Life Lab

Headed to New Leaf Community Markets for some shopping?

You can cast your Envirotoken Vote for your favorite non-profit (Hint: Life Lab 😄 ) every time you shop until December 16th.

Ask for your paper ballet at every store!Vote for Life Lab to be a New Leaf Community Markets Envirotoken recipient every time you shop! Paper ballots will be in every New Leaf store until Dec. 16h! See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

1 week ago

Life Lab

Vote for Life Lab to be a New Leaf Community Markets Envirotoken recipient every time you shop! Paper ballots will be in every New Leaf store until Dec. 16h! See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

3 weeks ago

Life Lab

We’ve kicked off our Year End Giving Campaign by raising $4600 on #givingtuesday. Thank you!

For 2019 Life Lab wants to bring more children into school gardens than ever before. More hands in dirt, more love of healthy foods and more kids saying, "I’m a scientist!"

Donate Today!! lifelab.org/donate See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

3 weeks ago

Life Lab

"Wow, these seeds are so tiny. It’s hard to imagine that they are going to grow into something so big!"

Your donation to Life Lab awakens curiosity in children, join us for #GivingTuesday and plant seeds of hope for the future!

www.lifelab.org/donate

#BeAPartOfIt, #Donate, #SeedsOfHope, #MakingChange See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

3 weeks ago

Life Lab

#GivingTuesday is still going strong. Doesn’t it feel great to know everyone working together can make a real difference? Be a part of the movement! www.lifelab.org/donate
#BeAPartOfIt
See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

3 weeks ago

Life Lab

We share our work nationally through workshops and curriculum for teachers and our School Garden Support Organization Leadership Program. Participating educators tell us this impacts over 500,000 students annually!

Be a part of it! www.lifelab.org/donate

#GivingTuesday, #SmallOrganizationNationalReach, #donate, #nonprofit, #BeAPartOfIt See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

3 weeks ago

Life Lab

We look to our work with children and understand that now, more than ever, we must raise our children to be loving stewards of the Earth. For the next generation to protect, defend, and preserve the Earth, they must understand and love it. A gift to Life Lab connects 500,000 children each year across the nation to the natural world, and allows them to discover their potential to care for it. YOU can influence change today by supporting Life Lab’s work.

www.lifelab.org/donate

#OnlyOnePlanet, #ProtectWhatYouLove See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

3 weeks ago

Life Lab

“Kids participated in garden lessons right before recess. Once recess began, however, they didn’t want to leave the garden! They thought it was better than recess!” ~1st Grade Teacher & Garden Champion at a Santa Cruz County school

This #GivingTuesday, join us in sharing joy and curiosity with thousands of children.

www.lifelab.org/donate

#BeAPartOfIt, #optoutside, #healthykids, #giveback, #donate, #PayItForward, #nonprofit, #SantaCruzCounty See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

3 weeks ago

Life Lab

Last school year, Life Lab’s Santa Cruz County programs served:
-5,193 students
-over 900 lessons
-143 teachers’ classes
-37 schools

This #GivingTuesday, help ensure we can offer these hands-on, life-changing programs to children regardless of what they can pay.

www.lifelab.org/donate See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

3 weeks ago

Life Lab

“I love making the rainbow smoothie. It had something new for me–that was the spinach. I made it at home. I love it and my mom made something new!”

~ Amesti Elementary School 4th Grader as part of our Kids Cook program

Your gift today helps us offer 70% of our garden-based programs FREE to children whose families/schools could not otherwise afford them.

www.lifelab.org/donate

#GivingTuesday, #BeAPartOfIt, #optoutside, #healthykids, #giveback, #donate, #PayItForward, #nonprofit See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

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.
Rachel PringleSenior Director of ProgramsEducation Outside
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.
Erica CurryTraining and Professional Development ManagerFoodCorps
Thank you for such a wonderful field trip experience! Your leaders did such a great job at keeping our kids engaged.
Sheila BrickenKindergarten TeacherSan Lorenzo Valley Elementary
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.
Tara NeierCamp ParentSummer camp mom