Good Morning Garden, by Barbara Brenner

Everyone starts their day off a little different. In this story a little girl starts off her day by greeting all the things she finds in her garden.


  • Silk flowers. If you have the ‘heads’ only, pipe cleaners work well for the stems. Just cut them down to an appropriate length.
  • 1 paper plate for every 3 children in classroom and one extra.
  • Pipe cleaners cut into various lengths for both sand/water play and manipulatives.


  • Plant (flowers, vegetables, trees, and shrubs that mainly grow in the ground)
  • Dew (droplets of water that form on plants and other objects through condensation)
  • Neighborhood (a place where several or many families live)
  • Living (alive)
  • Inanimate (not alive)

Introducing the Story

Begin a discussion on morning rituals.   Ask the children how they start their morning. What do you do first, next, and last. (My Daddy wakes me up and then I get dressed because I have to come to school). Let the children talk about all the things they do. As a child introduces a new activity, ask the other children if they do this too. (How many of you brush your teeth in the morning like Roger?). Tell the children that today you are going to read a story about a little girl who likes to start her day in a different way. Open up the book so the children can see the front and back covers and ask them if they can guess how this girl likes to start her day?

Approaches to Learning/Reasoning & Problem-Solving; develops increasing ability to find more than one solution to a question, task, or problem.

Reading the Story

Read the first page and state that the girl likes to go for a walk and say good morning to the things in her yard. Now as you go through the pages, ask the children if they can name some of the things in the yard. Use your finger to point out the items the young girl is saying good morning to.  Read slowly and allow the children to enjoy the pictures and add any discussion that is appropriate to the story. (Once I saw a bumblebee in my yard and I ran away cause it was gonna sting me).

Science/Scientific Knowledge; expands knowledge of and abilities to observe, describe, and discuss the natural world, materials, living things, and natural processes.

After Reading the Story

Open the book to any page and tell the children to look carefully at how the illustrator made the pictures. Explain to them Denise Ortakales is the illustrator and artist who cut all these little shapes of paper and glued them together to make these pictures. This technique is called paper sculpting. It takes a lot of practice to be able to cut this good; Denise Ortakales is a real artist.

Literacy/Book Knowledge & Appreciation; progresses in learning how to handle care for books; knowing to view one page at a time in sequence from front to back; and understanding that a book has a title, author, and illustrator.

Music and Movement

Sing The Itsy Bitsy Spider.

The Itsy Bitsy Spider climbed up the waterspout.         (make hands pretend to crawl up)
Down came the rain and washed the spider out.          (wiggle fingers to make rain motion)
Out came the sun and dried up all the rain                    (put hands over head fingers to fingers/thumb to thumb)
And the Itsy Bitsy spider, went up the spout again.    (make hands pretend to crawl up)

Change the Itsy Bitsy spider to the Teeny Tiny spider and sing it in a squeaky little voice doing tiny actions. Then sing it to the Humongous spider voice and do great big spider voice and actions.

Creative Arts/Music; participates with increasing interest and enjoyment in a variety if music activities, including listening, singing finger plays, games, and performances.

Put the paper plates on the floor and tell the children that they are going to pretend to be ants crawling about. When the music plays the children crawl about the room. Encourage them to crawl under the table, over the chair, beside the bookcase, walk on the blocks, jump over the stuffed animal, etc. When the music stops the children must quickly crawl to a paper plate (ant hole) where there is room for them. They must put one hand on the plate. When all the ants are in their ‘hole’, begin the music again.

Physical Health & Development/Large Motor Skills; shows increasing levels of proficiency, control, and balance walking, climbing, running, jumping, hopping, skipping, marching, and galloping.


In this story, the girl said “good morning” to many living things. Ask the children if they can remember a few. Give the children magazines and scissors and ask them to cut out pictures of living things for you to put on a poster. If the children are cutting many living things pictures, you can change the directions to cut out inanimate objects (things that are not alive).   Depending on how involved the children get, you can glue their pictures to a poster board labeled, LIVING objects and/or INANIMATE objects.

Physical Health & Development/Fine Motor Skills; Grows in eye-hand coordination in building with blocks, putting puzzles together, reproducing shapes and patterns, stringing beads, and using scissors.


The last page of the story shows a neighborhood. Show this page to the children in the block center and challenge them to build a neighborhood. Explain that each builder will need a house and whatever else they choose to put into their neighborhood.

Social & Emotional Development/Knowledge of Families & Community; begins to express and understand concepts and language of geography in contexts of classroom, home, and community.


Cut several sheets of construction paper into ½ inch x 6 inch strips. Accordion some of the strips, curl some of the strips, and crease the ends ½” inch in on all of the strips at both ends. Use glue sticks and show the children how to apply the glue to the ½” creased ends of the strips and hold them while they count to 10 on a piece of black construction paper. This will make a 3-dimensional paper collage. Encourage the children to use many strips gluing them under and over each other. Remind them that will have to count to ten and hold the strip in place while the glue settles and sticks. When these are finished they are fun to hang from the wall as the paper sticks out off the wall.

Creative Arts/Art; begins to plan, work independently, and demonstrate care and persistence in a variety of art projects. AND Mathematics/Number & Operations; develops increasing ability to count in sequences to 10 and beyond.

Sand and Water

Add damp sand and plastic or silk flowers for planting. Add spoons and a watering can, and popsicle sticks for labeling what you are growing. If you have bean seeds or small puff balls, these can be used as ‘seeds’.

Creative Arts/Dramatic Play; shows growing creativity and imagination in using materials and in assuming different roles in dramatic play situations.

Library and Writing

Cut out several 3-4 inch shapes from cardboard (a circle, a square, and a triangle). Show the children how to hold the shape onto a piece of paper and trace around it with a marker. Next give the children scissors so they can practice cutting out the shapes. They can either glue them to paper or put them into an envelope for another days art project.

Physical Health & Development/Fine Motor Skills; develops growing strength, dexterity, and control needed to use tools such as scissors, paper punch, stapler, and hammer.

Dramatic Play

The story was about one girl’s morning rituals. Encourage the children to play out their morning rituals. Some children can be parents and some children. As you check in with the center, ask them about their own morning rituals to help guide the play along.

Social & Emotional Development/Knowledge of Families & Communities; progresses in understanding similarities and respecting differences among people such as gender, race, special needs, culture, language, and family structures.

Math and Manipulaties

Give the children play dough and pipe cleaners today. Challenge them to make a spider or insect. Can they roll out a long snake?

Physical Health & Development/Fine Motor Skills; develops growing strength, dexterity, and control needed to use tools such as scissors, paper punch, stapler, and hammer

Outdoor Play

Prep your playground several days ahead of time. Lay a piece of cardboard down in a shady location (the coolness underneath attracts insects). Put out several small dishes of fruit pieces that may help attract ants. On the day of your walk, take out paper and pencil, and magnifying glasses. Go for a Living Things walk and record what they children see on the paper to share in the classroom later.

Science/Scientific Knowledge; expands knowledge of and abilities to observe, describe, and discuss the natural world, materials, living things, and natural processes.


Play Categories with the children. Name a category such as fruits, insects and bugs, animals that live in trees, etc. Each child must try to name something from the category before lining up or going to the next activity. For younger children, keep the categories simpler. Name red objects, things that fly, or you name an object and ask them if it is alive or inanimate. (chair, bird, television, etc.)

Approaches to Learning/Reasoning & Problem Solving; develops increasing abilities to classify, compare, and contrast objects, events, and experiences.

Dear Parents, today we read a book about all the wonderful living things out in a little girls neighborhood. Take your child for a walk about your yard or neighborhood and take time to see all the wonders of nature with your child.

About Kerry CI am an Early Childhood Educator who has seen daily the value of shared book readings with my preschoolers. I use the book theme in my centers and can daily touch upon a variety of Early Childhood Domains which makes assessing the children easy and individualized.