Life Lab

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

Category : Lessons & Activities

Garden Frittata

Garden Frittata A perfect spring meal using fresh or dried herbs, greens and other veggies you may have on hand Ages 5+. ~60 min 2-3 cups pre-cooked vegetables (could include garlic, onion, chard, kale, spinach, artichoke hearts, peppers, zucchini, potato, brocco [...]

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Frittata


Garden Green Smoothies

Garden Green Smoothie Blend some fresh greens and fresh or frozen fruit to make a yummy smoothie, and toast to the garden! Ages 2+. ~30 min 5 chard leaves, stems removed and coarsely chopped (or torn) or 1 cup of spinach leaves 1 cup water 1 cup plain yogur [...]

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Green Smoothie


Stone Soup

Stone Soup Make a delicious soup using what you have on hand. Best when each family member contributes a different ingredient to the pot, and even better when the Stone Soup story is told to kick off the cooking! Ages 5+ ~60 min+ 8 cups veggie broth  3/4 cup [...]

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Stone Soup


Little Munchkins

Little Munchkins Pretend you have shrunk to the size of an ant and imagine the world from that perspective! Ages 5+ ~15 min For this activity you’ll need a string (about 24 inches long), colored pencils, paper, a firm book or clipboard to draw on and a magnifyi [...]

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little-munchkin


Pollinator Observation

Pollinator Observations Use a tally sheet to observe pollinators visiting a flower. If you want to be a “citizen scientist” upload your data to the Great Sunflower Project. Ages 6+ 15 min+ This activity is perfect for window-watching or outdoor quiet and refl [...]

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Pollinator Tally


Bug Races

Bug Races Search for bugs, set up a race and watch them go! Ages 2+ ~30min Easy, fun and a great energizer! Take kids outside and look for bugs that can race against each other. The best places to find bugs are under rocks, pots or other cool, dark, and moist pla [...]

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bug crawling


Six of One, Half Dozen of the Other

Six of One, Half Dozen of Another Use your senses to find and classify contrasting objects Age 6+ ~30min This is a great activity for making detailed observations and improving your child’s appreciation of our natural world in a fun and engaging way. The first [...]

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Opposites


Root View Cups

Root View CupsUse a clear plastic cup to view and explore how plants grow Ages 5+ ~45min Looking for a project kids can continue to track and monitor over the next 3-4 weeks? This project is a great way for kids to examine and observe how roots grow over time throu [...]

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Root View Cup


Tape Bracelets

Tape Bracelets Make a decorative bracelet using tape and found objects Ages 3+ ~30 min This is my daughter’s current favorite outdoor activity because it allows her to search for things, be creative, and in her words, “make something fancy!” Gently wrap a [...]

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tape bracelet


Birdseed Wreaths

Birdseed wreaths are a winter feast for our feathered friends! Kids, adults, and birds alike love these decorative projects. They are easy to make and create terrific gifts. They look wonderful hanging in trees or in windows. Makes 12 small wreaths. Here's what you'l [...]

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Fruit Leathers

Fruit leathers, or a your kids may know them, fruit roll-ups, make wonderful, packable, healthy snacks year-round. Your kids will love turning freshly harvested fruit into mush, and then making that mush into fruit leathers. Apricots, apples, pears, berries, and plums a [...]

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Education Outside School Garden Program Resources

Education Outside’s School Garden Program Resources – An Incredible Collection of Resources to Run a School Garden Program [...]

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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 [...]

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plante stewards


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 [...]

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kids composting


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 [...]

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color pathway


Farm to la Escuela: Nutrition Education with English Language Learners

This service highlight, originally posted with the California Farm to School Network, is written by FoodCorps Service Member Sara Mendes who is currently serving with Life Lab and Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF) along the Central Coast. Serving in the hear [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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Types of School Composts chart


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&# [...]

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kids in the garden measuring plants


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 [...]

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The Fine Art of Flower Pounding – Making Floral Prints Video

Flower PoundingCreate a beautiful bookmark by imprinting colors from flower petals or leaves, using just hammers and tape. Ages 5+ ~30 min What could be more fun than creating colorful flower images by pounding with a hammer? Using tape to temporarily hold flow [...]

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flower pressing


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 g [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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2012 ~ Family Gardening Book

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

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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 [...]

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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. [...]

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“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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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Spanish Language Garden Resources

School Garden and Nutrition Education Networks and Resource Search Tools Include “Spanish” in the search tool Red Internacional de Huertos Escolares una herramienta para el intercambio de experiencias, recursos e inspiración.   Big Green’s Resour [...]

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My Edible Garden

Garden on a CrackerDesign your own mini, edible garden using crackers, hummus, and fresh vegetables and herbs. Age 6+ ~30 minThis is our favorite go-to garden recipe because it is fun, inspires creativity, and encourages kids to try new things!  You will need rice [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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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.   [...]

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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 [...]

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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 [...]

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“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 [...]

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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 [...]

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Life Lab 40th
Life Lab’s 40th Gala – Sunday, October 13th  Celebrate 40 years of bringing learning to life in gardens. Learn more  
Life Lab's 40th Gala
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
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