Present the book 'The Carrot Seed' by Ruth Krauss to teach preschool children about gardening. The moral to the story is that faith and hard work will lead to a good reward. Have your preschool class experience this themselves by growing their own carrot!
About the Book and Author
The Carrot Seed is a story about a little boy who planted a carrot seed and was hoping to see it grow. His family (mother, father, and big brother) did not have faith that the seed would grow into a carrot, so they repeatedly responded to the little boy, "I'm afraid it won't come up." The little boy worked very hard caring for the seed; he watered it and took away the weeds. One day a gigantic carrot popped up in his garden, just like he knew it would.
This book authored by Ruth Krauss was published in 1945 and has never gone out-of-print. It's a simple book with single sentence type text. The rhythmic pattern is apparent throughout the book when family members kept repeating that the carrot would not come up. The illustrator, Crockett Johnson (who married Krauss) presented simple pictures drawn in hues of brown, yellow and white. The very last page of the book presents colors of orange and green when the carrot comes up. It draws the attention of the children as a happy ending.
Circle Time Discussion
Open with a discussion about this classic story. Ask the children questions such as:
- Who told the little boy the seed would not come up?
- How many people told him that?
- What two things did the little boy do everyday to take care of the seed?
- Did a carrot finally come up? How?
- Have you ever grown something by yourself? Tell us about it.
Read the story again and invite the children to call out the repeated phrase, "I'm afraid it won't come up" at the appropriate times.
Grow Your Own Carrot (Science)
This is an interesting science project to do with preschoolers. An adult can cut off the top of a carrot with a sharp knife and trim away any leaves. Place this carrot top on a layer of pebbles inside a low container. Invite children to pour in some water up to the level of the carrot. Together, keep the carrot well-watered and watch the top grow. Later when the roots form, the carrot can be planted in soil. Ask the children, "What do plants need to survive?" and "What do you (humans) need to survive?"
Planting Song (Music)
Sing this song to the tune of "Farmer in the Dell."
It's time to plant the seeds,
It's time to plant the seeds,
Heigh-ho, the derry-o,
It's time to plant the seeds.
The warm sun shines all day...
The rain comes gently down...
The plant pops through the soil...
We need to water and hoe...
We help our garden grow...
As you sing, invite the children to act out each verse.
Make a Carrot Salad (Cooking)
Gather the children to help make this carrot salad for snack or lunch.
You will need:
- carrots, grated
- sunflower seeds
- canned pineapple, chunks
What to do:
- Ask children to help wash the carrots.
- Show children how to grate the carrots. They may want to help you.
- Place the grated carrots into a bowl and invite the children to help add the other ingredients.
- Each child can help stir until the mixture is blended.
- Chill the salad in the refrigerator.
- Serve and enjoy!
Carrot Collage (Art)
Help children cut paper into a carrot shape. Provide tissue paper in red and yellow. Invite children to tear pieces of both colors and glue this onto the paper, making sure to overlap pieces. The combination of both colors will create a tinted orange carrot. Glue on green Easter grass (saved from the holidays) for the carrot top.
Story Stretchers: Activities to Expand Children's Favorite Books by Shirley C. Raines and Robert J. Canady [Gryphon House, 1989]
The Carrot Seed can be found in most libraries, bookstores, online, and on YouTube.