Today we visited our local garden center for another one of those super-fun local business tours that I’ve been organizing for my local MOMS Group. It is a beautiful store, and our tour guide was fantastic. We learned how to properly plant pansies, which I realized I’ve been doing poorly for the last few years now. I also realized that we left the house with Cora wearing two different shoes, but we’ve all done that before, right?
- Garden Center Tour: Like the other business tours, all I did was call a month ahead and ask if they’d mind showing anywhere from 3 (my kids) to 12 children and their parents around the shop and teaching us how to plant flowers. They agreed, and they gave us one of the kindest “plant experts” around.
Sure, it’s not always easy to keep the littlest ones occupied, but once they were able to get their tiny hands full of dirt, most were happy and content. The older children liked searching for fallen flowers on the floor, and I know mine loved wearing their gardening gloves and watering their new flower. And everyone got to leave with a potted pansy.
This kind of learning is easy and fun; our tours have given us a look inside a bunch of the stores we frequent. We’ve toured the fire station (we’ll do it again in June), our grocery store, flower shop, bagel store, icecream shop, pizza place, auto shop, and we’ve got a ton more lined up.
I’ve said before, that all you need is a to ask a few days or weeks ahead, and you’ll be surprised at how generous and excited your local businesses may be to have you visit.
What we do to prepare is just talk about the tour at breakfast (or a few days before, if they’re psyched about it), chat about things we already knew about the store/restaurant/shop/ etc., and then we come up with some questions to ask our tour guide once we get there. Afterward, we chat about what we learned, and my kiddos can hardly wait to tell Daddy what they did that night at dinner.
These are the same types of strategies teachers use to get students ready for new learning: we talk about what students already know about the subject, we talk about what they want to know about it, then once they’ve learned it, we have students about what they’ve learned. Easy as that.