As the holidays approach, when both time and patience can often be short, our old children’s book favorites Frog and Toad can teach children (and their adults) a lesson on slowing down, patience, and keeping our peace through the garden lens.
If you aren’t familiar, the Frog and Toad books are wonderfully sweet children’s books revolving around various learning adventures with characters Frog and Toad. Through the story “The Garden” from the book of short stories Frog and Toad Together, by Arnold Lobel, Toad learns a lesson in patience when he tries to grow a flower garden as beautiful as Frog’s. This story is a wonderful reminder that when we keep our peace and patience, it benefits ourselves as well as all the things around us.
“Plant them in the ground,” said Frog, “and soon you will have a garden.”
Even better is that patience is taught through the lens of gardening, which we all know takes patience! Try this: plant some seeds and a couple days later, before they have sprouted, dramatically role play at circle that you are very impatient that the seeds haven’t sprouted. Ask the children how they feel about the seeds taking so long to sprout. If you have sprouted seeds previously, some children may remind you that you have to wait, if not you may validate some children’s feelings about why it is taking so long.
Read the story, and over the period of time until the seeds sprout, engage in the philosophy of patience through the eyes of Frog and Toad – never fear, links to philosophical questions from the story on this topic are below! As the children get to thinking deeply on the topic, include ways that patience pays in the garden during times other than seed sprouting – like when we are harvesting so plants don’t get damaged, when we are walking through garden rows and controlling our feet, and pretty much performing most garden tasks, taking out time and using patience is always beneficial.
Then ask questions that apply this garden learning to their wider lives. Have the children journal on the topic and share their journal entries. This helps build even more garden wonder and they will realize that a little extra patience can go a long way to keeping life peaceful and running the way they want it to. You may be surprised at how insightful the children’s answers will be!
How can you tie this story specifically to what’s happening in your class garden?
Share your ideas in the comments below!
Seeds to Sprout:
Watch an animated video of Frog and Toad Together: The Garden
Use this lesson from Teaching Children Philosophy to create a unit that incorporates lessons on patience and gardening!
More philosophical questions to ask children about the patience theme of this story from the University of Washington’s Center for Philosophy for Children
Mount Holyoke College’s site Philosophy for Children is dedicated to philosophical questions based on children’s stories! Awesome!
The Frog and Toad series makes great early readers too, as I am sure many of you know!