Vegetable Garden Discovery Bottle Activity for Preschoolers

Make a mini vegetable garden in a bottle! This fun garden activity for kids is great to learn about how vegetables grown and to encourage healthy eating. Perfect for a preschool garden unit or to learn about nutrition! Love how cute this is and it is so easy to make.

When you're 3, patience is a hard thing to learn. Actually it's true at any age, but right now my 3 year old twins are learning about patience when it comes to our garden. We planted our backyard vegetable garden a couple of weeks ago, and I think they were surprised when we didn't have veggies to pick the very next day! Since they are so excited about our garden (and very patiently waiting for it to grow) I thought we'd do a fun activity to explore some of the vegetables we will have soon. We made this super easy vegetable garden in a bottle and I think it is going to keep them occupied until we have the real thing!

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I wanted to keep this discovery bottle pretty simple, and give the boys a chance to help me put it together since they had so much fun planting our garden. To make your own, you'll only need 3 things:

  • Clean, empty water bottle (I use VOSS bottles)
  • Miniature Vegetables (I found these adorable veggie erasers on Amazon and they're perfect. There's also a larger set if you want more variety.)
  • Dry Black Beans

Simply set out your supplies and invite your children to help you "plant" the garden. We started with a few beans, then they wanted to put the vegetables in. You'll mix everything up in the end so it doesn't matter what order you do.

Filling the bottle is an excellent fine motor activity for small kids, and gives you an opportunity to talk about how vegetables grow and what they need. My boys loved dropping the beans in - they called them the "magic beans!"

We filled our bottle just about halfway - I like to give the materials plenty of room to roll around and make it easy for the boys to find the vegetables inside, but you can certainly fill yours higher if you prefer.

Once your bottle is filled, close the top securely. If you are concerned about your kids opening the bottle then you can glue it closed.

Now you can check out your very own garden in a bottle - with no waiting for it to grow! We had fun counting the vegetables inside, identifying each one and describing its shape and color. 

We also printed out another set of our alphabet garden markers to identify which letter each vegetable starts with! Get your own set here.

Focusing on our garden and exploring vegetables is just one way that I'm working to encourage both outdoor time and healthy eating for my kids. Are you looking for great ideas on healthy eating too? Check out two great lists of healthy eating printables for kids - find seven free printables here and nine more free printables here.

And if your kids are planning a garden too, they will LOVE this printable garden journal from Playground Parkbench! We've got ours ready to track our plants and when they grow. Get yours here.

Love Discovery Bottles? Here's some more outdoor themed Discovery Bottles to try:

Desert Flower Discovery Bottle | Preschool Inspirations
Simple Spring Nature Sensory Bottles | Lemon Lime Adventures
Sea Shells Sensory Bottle | Rhythms of Play
Citrus Themed Nature Discovery Bottle | Where Imagination Grows

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