Inclusive Resource on Sensorimotor Child Development for Parents and Teachers

Tricks from the Experts

The “Sustainability,” “Whole Foods,” “Locavore,”  “Buy local…organic,” etc. is a relatively new exciting buzz in our food world.  When I read Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, I became a convert.  The Kingsolver family took a 12 month challenge to eat ONLY foods grown within a 50 mile radius of their small family farm in Virginia. That meant growing their own food like crazy and buying everything else at local farmer’s markets.

IMG_2635This sounds, and indeed in today’s world, is astounding!  While each family member was allowed a few select food items that were impossible to grow near by (coffee beans, olive oil…) the thought of consuming food that doesn’t come from CA or Peru seems impossible.  And practically is.  Yet two generations ago, many communities only ate what was produced nearby.

The amazement is that we have moved in only two generations from a land that took for granted a local food basket culture to consuming foods primarily if not exclusively grown half way around the world!  In half a century we have forgotten how food is created and where it comes from.


IMG_4180And in that time we have lost the traditional methods of farming that sustained communities for centuries.  The family heirloom seeds and best practices to grow in a specific climate were lost.  Our new “farming warriors” have delved into these methods and have brought them back, integrated with new agricultural science knowledge.  The Children’s Garden and Farm to School programs are lucky to have two expert farmers that bring the new and old to our gardening experience.

At the Children’s Garden, many children struggle to identify the vegetable that french fries come from when they first arrive. By the end of their summer experience they can differentiate potato from beet and carrots just by looking at the plants’ leaves, growing above the ground.

Today I will share some of the secrets the child gardeners have learned from our expert farmers.

Placement of Seeds:

IMG_2431Farmer Stephanie has stressed the importance of having room for the plants to grow. Measuring how far apart to place seeds and how deep is critical to the survival of a seed.  Farmer Drake taught the children how to use their finger tips to measure space between pea seeds and how deep to push the dirt down to form the seed’s hole.

Planting becomes a math lesson: Measuring the finger teaches about inches and simple fractions (many seeds only need 1/2 and 1/4 inch deep holes).  The older children can measure the row and calculate how many seeds/plants will fit into the row.


Planting Seedlings:

If a picture is worth  a thousand words, a video is even better:


  • Several gardening posts have described the fine motor and sensory motor benefits of planting.
  • Autonomy for a child is huge in terms of self worth and confidence.  Note the confidence with which our second grader proceeded with planting that tender seedling.
  • Math and science concepts are reinforced.


This post reflects the partnership and creative collaboration between The Motor StorySustainable CAPE ,  Truro Public Library and Truro Recreation.

Similar posts
  • A Shining Star! In our youth oriented culture, getting older tends to herald the decline of bodily functions and a wistful outlook, with memories of good times receding in the past. The silver lining of growing older, is that you get to witness how things turn out. In my case, I get to hear about the kids I [...]
  • Holiday Sponge Art Ten days ’til Christmas!  Planning simple holiday themed activities helps to channel some of that palpable energy.  The trick is to keep the projects simple. When kids’ sensory systems are overloaded with multi-colored lights, never-ending Christmas music and constantly changing routines, they don’t need any motor planning challenges. Activities that incorporate easy to do steps [...]
  • Gingerbread Houses I have been making gingerbread houses as a holiday celebration activity with the students for many years and it has become almost legendary. The children are thrilled. While it looks like all fun (and is!), I glean a great deal of information from this holiday activity. Benefits: I use the activity as an assessment of each [...]
  • Travel We are approaching the most heavily traveled season on the year.  Along with the joys of visiting family and friends, we often struggle through traffic jams of mammoth proportions.  Whether facing flying delays or miles of crawling traffic, when kids are in tow, the frustration and anxiety can multiply. No matter whether you take a [...]
  • Lasagna Gardening It’s time to Tuck in the Garden.  As Daylight Savings ends and temperatures plummet, the days of growing delicious food at the Truro Community Children’s Garden is ending for the season.  We’ll still be able to snitch kale and mint leaves for smoothie snacks, but our big job right now is preparing the garden beds [...]

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Subscribe to The Motor Story via Email