Life Lab

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

Sheet Shake

Sheet Shake

Use a sheet to explore just how much life can live in a backyard bush or shrub. Ages 5+, 15+ minutes

What use does an old bed sheet have in a garden?  It’s a wonderful exploration tool for examining the wondrous amounts of life that a single bush can contain!  Really, all you need for this activity is a bedsheet you don’t mind getting dirty.  Go outside to a yard or a bush lined street.  Find a nice, full bush or shrub that has less branches near the bottom so that it is easier to access the underside of the plant.  Lay your sheet out flat and then pull one side of the sheet under the bush as far as you can.  Once one side of the sheet is under the bush as much as you can manage, then it is time to shake, shake, shake!  Hold on to the branches above the sheet and shake enthusiastically, but not so hard that it damages the plant.  When you’ve had enough fun shaking, gently pull the sheet out from the bush by pulling the side closest to you.  The sheet should be covered not only in leaves, twigs, and bits of plant but also in small insects, spiders, or other very small critters.  You may need to get on your hands and knees to see the truly small wildlife.  Look closely and be patient!  Look for movement.  You’ll be amazed at how many little friends were hiding in that bush!  

It’s also nice to have a magnifying glass on hand to look at the insects close up.  I use a bug box, which is essentially a small, clear plastic box with a lid for scooping small insects into the box and closing it.  The lid has a magnifying glass built into it so that you can look at your bug friend up close.  Then simply open the lid to release your critter. 

When you are done exploring the bush, simply shake out your sheet onto the bush so that all the little friends can return to their home.  Once you have visited one bush, go try the sheet shake again at another bush, and then another!  Try comparing different plants as effective habitats.  What kinds of insects do different plants host?  Are the insects different in shaded plants versus plants in full sun?  Create your own experiments and have fun!

En español

For kids to watch and learn!

F2010 Version (teaching to kids)

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6 days ago

Life Lab

🌸Growing Gardens of Hope!🌸 Join us as we celebrate the beautiful impacts of school garden education as part of our virtual Spring Benefit Brunch on May 1st at 11am. Guest speakers are Dr. Dilafruz Williams 💐and Francisco Paco Estrada 🤩 Brunch Menu Options include offerings from New Leaf Community Markets Charlie Hong Kong Companion Bakeshop Steamer Lane Supply Thomas Family Farm Flowers 🌱 Register at www.LifeLab.org/spring-benefit #spring #fundraiser #schoolgardens #GardenBasedLearning #LifeLab

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1 week ago

Life Lab

Come one, come all! 🌻Bring your students for the first-ever, national, virtual school garden tour … hosted by students, for students! #growingschoolgardens #schoolgardens #learninggarden #kidsgardening #healthykids #KidsGardenMonth #LifeLab 🌱

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4 weeks ago

Life Lab

Gardens of gratitude to @petalumaseedbank for your generous seed donation! 🌱Teamwork makes the school garden dream work🌸#seedbank #schoolgardens #LifeLab #spring #sprouts #ThankYouThursday

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1 month ago

Life Lab

Happy Spring Everyone!!🌱🌸🌱 Join us for our Family Gardening Spring Webinar this Tuesday March 23rd at 3pm to learn about Spring planting and garden based activities like trellising, how to make Root View Cups, garden art, pest management, and reseeding annuals🌸Register at lifelab.org/events. @reneesgardenseeds @originalgopherbasket #LifeLab #springequinox #spring #schoolgardens #gardeneducation #narcissus #webinarseries

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1 month ago

Life Lab

Our Spring Family Gardening Webinar is coming up soon🌱March 23rd at 3pm🌱 Join Life Lab educators for another fun family webinar focused on Spring planting and garden based activities like trellising, how to make Root View Cups, pest management, and reseeding annuals🌸Register at lifelab.org/events

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2 months ago

Life Lab

Join us for tomorrow’s Family Gardening Winter Webinar at 3pm! Register at LifeLab.org/events 🌱Linktree in our bio as well🌱#naturejournal #compost #soil #wintergardening #family #gardening #lifelab #schoolgardens

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2 months ago

Life Lab

Join Life Lab educators for a fun, family Winter gardening webinar on February 16th at 3pm. We will focus on the various ways to plan, create, and support a healthy garden. Topics include choosing a garden space, creative container options, what to plant now, and preparing for Spring. 🌱#gardeneducation #LifeLab #schoolgardens #familygardening #wintergarden 🌻Registration link in our bio

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3 months ago

Life Lab

🌱 Become a Life Lab Certified Educator!🌱 We only have 3 spots left in our new School Garden Educator Certification Program! Sign-up today for the entire series of courses or for individual courses by visiting website, link below. Our first course, Building Connections in the Garden, starts with asynchronous work on January 21st and our first synchronous session will be on January 28th from 3:30 – 5:00 PST. You may continue to sign up through January 27th or until all spots are filled. If needed, we highly encourage you to join the waitlist to get priority registration for our next cohort in the fall of 2021 or should there become spots available. Upon completion of the 4 courses, participants will receive a certificate and the distinction of being a Life Lab-Certified Garden Educator. Each course will last approximately 8 weeks long and include 4 synchronous meetings, at-home work, and a unique coaching model tailored to each individual’s needs.lifelab.org/educator-certification-program/

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3 months ago

Life Lab

Looking to 2021 with a magnified view of our impact on nature and our connections with each other. A healthy garden is a diverse and sustainable ecosystem full of wonder and beauty in all seasons. #LifeLab #2021 #gardeneducation #science #bettertogether

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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.
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