Life Lab

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

Category : Lessons & Activities

Everyone Needs a Rock

Everyone Needs a Rock Kids use their senses to explore and identify rocks, Ages 2+, 15 min+ Start by asking your kids, “If you lost your favorite possession, what would you do to try and find it? What senses would you use?” Discuss what senses can be helpful t [...]

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My Rock


Paper Pots

Paper Pots Make paper pots with your kids and learn about reusing newspaper to help your garden grow! Ages 5+, 30 min+ Reuse newspaper to help get your seeds started in a pot you can make at home with your kids.  There is no need to go out and buy small pots when [...]

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Samara Seeds

Samara Seeds Create a physical model of a seed that soars and watch how it flies! Ages 5+, 30 min+ A samara is a type of fruit surrounding a seed in which a flattened wing of papery tissue develops, allowing the wind to carry the seed away from the parent plant. T [...]

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Flying Seed Simulator


Playing Human Camera

Playing Human CameraPretend to be cameras and photographers and you and your kids will see the garden in a whole new light. Ages 2+, 15 min+ Head outside and show your child how you will guide her safely and then have her close her eyes.  Tell her, “Now I’m the [...]

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Flower Bling

Flower BlingCreate nature-inspired jewelry using fresh flowers and fishing line. 30 min, Ages 5+ Spring and summer is a great time to create beautiful necklaces, bracelets or crowns made out of flowers found in nature and some 40 pound gauge fishing line.  Flowers [...]

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Family Walks

Family Walks Easy low-prep ideas to get kids out exploring nature on a walk. Ages 2+, 15 min+ Family walks have become a daily occurrence for us recently and we have found some creative ways to explore our natural surroundings. Giving kids a sense of purpose or ju [...]

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Family Walk


Rainbow Chips

Rainbow Chips Explore your yard or nearby outdoor space for all the colors of the rainbow. Use paint samples or other color chips as a guide. 15+ minutes, Ages 2+ The outdoors are full of vibrant colors but we don’t always take the time to look closely at just [...]

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Card Hike

Card Hike Send kids out on a hike to complete fun, nature-inspired tasks along the way. Ages 2+, 15 min+ Sometimes our kids need a little extra motivation to get out and get hiking and this is a great activity to add a little spark.  Before we head out, I make so [...]

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Card Hike


Nature Journaling

Nature JournalingKids create their own garden journals and use them to record observations of nature in the garden, through drawing, writing, and painting. Journaling brings literacy, art, and creativity into the outdoors and can be used as a one time activity or as an [...]

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Garden Journal


Wheat Heads

Wheat HeadsMake and decorate a planter with faces that will grow wheat hair you’ll be able to make fun haircuts to. Ages 5+, ~ 30min Looking for an activity that involves reusable material, gardening, and craft-making? Wheat heads is a favorite activity in which [...]

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Wheat Heads


Rock Painting

Rock PaintingFind some rocks and paint beautiful designs, creatures and other nature-inspired themes on your rocks. Ages 2+, 30 min Add a pop of color to your garden or window sill or create a pet you don’t need to take care of! All you need for this activity is [...]

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Painted Stones


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 c [...]

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Sheet Shake


Six Seed Trail Mix

Six Seed Trail Mix Make a good snack while thinking about plant parts, especially seeds, and perhaps doing some seed math in the process! 20 minutes, Ages 5+ A variety of edible seeds, roasted or raw, such as:  Pumpkin seeds Sunflower seeds Almonds W [...]

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Seed Mix


Citrus Salsa

Citrus Salsa Delicious winter/spring salsa that will keep you returning to the salsa bowl! 30 min, Ages 5+ 4 cups peeled & finely chopped citrus fruit (oranges, grapefruit, mandarins) ½ cup finely chopped onion ¾ cup loosely packed chopped cilantro (sm [...]

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Citrus Salsa


Pesto Green Sauce

Pesto Green Sauce A mouth-watering dip/spread/sauce full of flavor! 20 minutes, Ages 5+ Classic Basil Pesto: 4 cups fresh basil leaves, packed ½ cup grated parmesan cheese ½ cup olive oil 6 T. pine nuts or walnuts 4 garlic cloves Place all t [...]

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Green Sauce


Herbed Flat Bread

Herbed Flat Bread Use any fresh herbs you have on hand or in your garden to add flavor to a delicious whole grain flatbread. Mold the bread into any fun shape you want! 90 minutes, Ages 5+ 1 Tablespoon yeast 1 teaspoon of sugar  2 cups warm water 2 teas [...]

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Love Flat Bread


Making an Olla

Making an Olla Use terra cotta pots to create a homemade Olla. 30 min, Ages 5+ Ollas (pronounced “oy-yahs”) are unglazed clay/terra-cotta pots with a bottle or tapered shape that are buried in the ground with the top/neck exposed above the soil surface and [...]

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Pressed Flower Card

Pressed Flower Card Use flowers, leaves and some heavy books to create natural art on a card. 1 hr, Ages 5+ This activity will inspire observation and appreciation of nature while also making a beautiful craft. Start by encouraging kids to observe the plants arou [...]

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Pressed Leaves and Flowers


Leafy Water Play

Leafy Water PlayExploring waters' wondrous properties by observing beads of water on different leaves. 15+ minutes, Ages 2+ Let's explore waters' wondrous properties! I watched two kids pass beads of water back and forth on nasturtium leaves. Their curiosity of wa [...]

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Nasturtium Cup


Spider Web Hunt

Spider Web Hunt Search for sneaky spider webs. Using a spray bottle with water, spray gently and watch the web design come alive. ~30 minute, Ages 2+ A kid once asked me, "What do spider homes look like?" So together we set off on an adventure to find out. We fir [...]

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Spider Webs


Soft Pretzels

Soft Pretzels Twist soft dough into your own designs and enjoy a hearty treat. 60 - 90 Minutes, Ages 2+ 1 package active dry yeast (.25 ounce or roughly 2 teaspoons) 2 T. sugar 1 1/8 teaspoons salt 1 1/2 cups warm water 4 cups all-purpose flour (Life [...]

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Pretzels


Veggie Roll-Ups

Veggie Roll-Ups Roll up your favorite veggies and dip or spread and slice to create yummy veggie art! 20 minutes Ages 4+ Fresh vegetables from the garden (Just about anything you have to harvest can work here. Nice raw options include beets, carrots, green beans [...]

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Eating Veggie RollUp


Sun Tea

Sun Tea Make a refreshing garden tea with the power of the sun! 15 minutes prep. Ages 2+ 1 large glass jar with lid 1 handful of fresh or dried mint leaves or other suitable plants, or a combination (examples: lemon balm, peppermint, spearmint, chamomile, ros [...]

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Sunny Sun Tea


Kale Smash

Kale Smash Kids of all ages can tear kale leaves and massage the kale along with avocado and lemon to make this tasty treat! Ages 4+ 30 minutes 2 bunches of Kale, such as Dino, Red Russian, etc., torn into bite sized pieces 2 Avocados 4 Tbsp. of Lime or Le [...]

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Smashing Kale


Honey Seed Snacks

Honey Seed Snacks Remember to thank the bees when you enjoy these honey and seed treats! Lots of fun for little hands to shape these into balls… or moon shapes… or worms! Ages 2+ 30+ minutes ½ cup carob or cocoa powder ½ cup honey ½ cup peanut butte [...]

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Honey Seed Snacks


Seed Spheres

Seed Spheres Make spheres out of mud and native flower seeds. Dry them in the sun, and then toss them out to fill an area with native flowers. Ages 5+. ~30-45 min Materials: A bowl, pail or bucket you don’t mind getting dirty A trowel A full watering c [...]

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Seed Spheres Fun


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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Fruit Leather


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


Educational Farm and Garden Design Element Video Lab

View and contribute to a video playlist showcasing design elements that support teaching and learning in gardens and on farms. Browse the video playlist to gain inspiration for your farm or garden education program. Or Create a 2-6 minute video hi [...]

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videolab


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2 days ago

Life Lab

In celebration of the Fall Equinox 🍁we are excited to share a poignant new film called Kiss the Ground Movie🌱Life Lab is honored to have partnered with Kiss the Ground to develop middle school curriculum and accompanying training video for educators, focused on the process of capturing and storing carbon in living organisms such as soil, plants and algae.🌿

This hopeful film showcases part of the solution to climate change that is right under our feet: biosequestration in the soil. Life Lab invites you to join a Global Watch Party for the film, followed by a live Q and A at 6pm PST / 9pm EST. For more info, go to Kiss the Ground Movie 🌍 #Lifelab #regenerativeagriculture #schoolgardens #soilhealth #earthactivist #climatechangesolutions See MoreSee Less

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3 days ago

Life Lab

It’s World Gratitude Day! 💐Life Lab is grateful for our community and to continue our 40+ year mission of cultivating children’s love of learning, healthy food, and nature through garden based education🌱#life lab #schoolgardens #education #worldgratitudeday #gratitude See MoreSee Less

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4 days ago

Life Lab

Join us on October 10th at 10:30am for Life Lab’s Fall Benefit: A Celebration of Learning and Community.
Register at LifeLab.org/fall-benefit
This virtual event includes a tour of Life Lab’s evolving work and vision. Plus we have a surprise announcement! We are thankful for your encouragement and support as a member of our Life Lab community. Despite the challenges of this unprecedented year, Life Lab is moving forward with grace and creative innovation. The events of this season have provided opportunities to support our local community and national networks in new ways, expand our reach through virtual connections, and dive more deeply into justice and equity in all of our work. We are strengthening the roots that feed Life Lab programs as we continue to transform the Nature of Education. Continued cultivation of children’s love for learning and connections with healthy food and nature during COVID is essential and brings hope, wonder, and a much needed breath of fresh air. We are excited to share the inspiring work of our dedicated staff with you! #gratitude #schoolgardens #education #lifelab #fundraiser #gardens
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2 weeks ago

Life Lab

🚨Join us TODAY at 11am PST🚨

💚Bringing Social Emotional Learning and
Mindfulness Education to Your Work💚

Join Sheri S. Dollin, M.Ed., Educational Consultant and Mindfulness Facilitator, and Sunny Wight, Co-Founder of Mindfulness First, for an overview of mindfulness and Social Emotional Learning (SEL) in the distance learning setting.

Together, we will look at how an understanding of trauma, mindfulness and SEL can help us to manage stress while nurturing the scientifically proven “protective factors” that help prevent and manage trauma and mental health issues both for ourselves and our students.

We will specifically learn about the brain science of stress, and practice mindfulness techniques you can teach to your students. We’ll also take a look at Mindfulness First’s synchronous and asynchronous online work, and quickly understand that it’s easier than we think to integrate mindfulness and SEL into online classrooms. Bring: something to draw with and a piece of paper, for Mindful Art.

For more information and to register click the link below
zoom.us/webinar/register/2015977037712/WN_JbIOXX6RQnCDaw6fNxbz2w See MoreSee Less

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2 weeks ago

Life Lab

🐝Join us this Wednesday 9/9 at 11am PST🐝

💚Bringing Social Emotional Learning and
Mindfulness Education to Your Work💚

Join Sheri S. Dollin, M.Ed., Educational Consultant and Mindfulness Facilitator, and Sunny Wight, Co-Founder of Mindfulness First, for an overview of mindfulness and Social Emotional Learning (SEL) in the distance learning setting.

Together, we will look at how an understanding of trauma, mindfulness and SEL can help us to manage stress while nurturing the scientifically proven “protective factors” that help prevent and manage trauma and mental health issues both for ourselves and our students.

We will specifically learn about the brain science of stress, and practice mindfulness techniques you can teach to your students. We’ll also take a look at Mindfulness First’s synchronous and asynchronous online work, and quickly understand that it’s easier than we think to integrate mindfulness and SEL into online classrooms. Bring: something to draw with and a piece of paper, for Mindful Art.

For more information and to register click the link below
zoom.us/webinar/register/2015977037712/WN_JbIOXX6RQnCDaw6fNxbz2w See MoreSee Less

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3 weeks ago

Life Lab

💚Join us this Wednesday 9/2 at 11am PST💚

🌱COVID-Friendly Outdoor Classroom Infrastructure & Design

There is an urgent need to reimagine PreK-12 schools in order to reopen safely and equitably. Repurposing outdoor spaces is a cost-effective way to reduce the burden on indoor classrooms while providing fresh air, hands-on learning opportunities, and the health benefits associated with increased access to nature.

Join Sharon Danks, a leader of the National COVID-19 Outdoor Learning Initiative (www.greenschoolyards.org/covid-learn-outside), author of Asphalt to Ecosystems, and founder of Green Schoolyards America, to learn about her work supporting the creation of outdoor classrooms for reopening schools.

For more information and to register click the below
zoom.us/webinar/register/9215974421157/WN_6vrM2853RXOrAk3wvEy9sQ See MoreSee Less

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4 weeks ago

Life Lab

🚨Join us TODAY at 11am PST🚨

🔎Garden Educator Distance Teaching and Learning🔎

Many months of distance teaching and learning have led to the development of a treasure trove of innovative teaching tools and the launching of new educational program models. For this Virtual Gathering we will offer everyone an opportunity to introduce programs that have been developed/adapted to meet the unique educational needs presented by COVID-19 along with other support resources that have been created to share with educators and families.

Join us as we discuss

🌐 Online lesson plans and other resources for educators and families

✏️ Non-digital tools and methods being used to continue learning from a distance

📏 Ideas for evaluating the impact of your distance teaching efforts

If you’d like to share during this time or have specific questions for us to address, please indicate them in the registration process.

For more information and to register click the link below
zoom.us/webinar/register/5215977036868/WN_7UndcsjiSBq8xE_C6Gs2oQ See MoreSee Less

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1 month ago

Life Lab

💚Join us this Wednesday 8/26 at 11am PST💚

🔎Garden Educator Distance Teaching and Learning🔎

Many months of distance teaching and learning have led to the development of a treasure trove of innovative teaching tools and the launching of new educational program models. For this Virtual Gathering we will offer everyone an opportunity to introduce programs that have been developed/adapted to meet the unique educational needs presented by COVID-19 along with other support resources that have been created to share with educators and families.

We would also like to hear about ideas for evaluating the impact of distance teaching efforts. 🧠

For more information and to register click the link below.

zoom.us/webinar/register/5215977036868/WN_7UndcsjiSBq8xE_C6Gs2oQ See MoreSee Less

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1 month ago

Life Lab

🚨Happening TODAY at 11am PST🚨

🍃School Garden Care and Management During Covid-19 🍃

A lot has changed since we last discussed this topic in April! Join us again to discuss garden care and management. During this virtual gathering School Garden Support Organizations will share how they are supporting their staff, teachers and the community to care for school gardens this fall.

For more information and to register
zoom.us/webinar/register/8715977036277/WN_p-3b2xRXSleM_u3KfVziyg See MoreSee Less

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Stock up your Garden Classroom

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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