How Hot Is It Today?
(Growing Gardeners: Pre-K - Kindergarten)
Knowing the temperature outdoors is important. That’s how you figure out which clothes to wear and what kind of care the plants in the garden might need. A thermometer is an excellent way to measure the air temperature, but it can take some practice for your little one to learn how to read one. One excellent teaching tool is a practice thermometer. It’s both easy and fun to make, so let’s get started!
- Old magazines
- Ruler Card stock or poster board
- Clear straw
- Glue or tape
- Red pipe cleaner
- Dark-colored pen or marker
What to Do:
1. Ask your child about today’s weather. Encourage them to describe it in different ways.
2. Show them today’s temperature on the thermometer. Ask your child whether a lower number would mean it was warmer or colder. How about a higher number?
3. Now it’s time to build a practice thermometer. Start by cutting out pictures of things that are hot and cold, like volcanoes, icebergs, campfires, popsicles—you get the idea!
4. Using your ruler, draw a straight line on the cardstock or poster board that’s the same length as the straw. Mark zero about a quarter of the way up the line, then fill in the rest of the temperatures below and above zero so it looks like a regular thermometer.
5. Glue or tape the straw next to your temperature line.
6. Insert the red pipe cleaner into the bottom of the straw, leaving enough sticking out to allow you to move it up and down.
7. Practice reading different temperatures by moving the pipe cleaner up and down. When the thermometer reads colder, ask your child to show you images of cold things. When it reads warmer, ask them to show pictures of hot things.
Temperature, of course, plays a big part in what’s happening in the garden. When it’s hot, plants might need extra water or shade. When it’s cold, they may need some protection from frost. Ask your child to read the temperature each morning, then talk together about what might need to happen in the garden that day. For more fun activities involving temperature, download Temperature: Reading the Heat.