How One Book Inspired Our Whole Day: A Day in the Life

Welcome to the March 2015 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Day in the Life

 ***This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting   hosted by:Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama.This month our participants have given us a special glimpse into their everyday.

Have you been wanting to play more with your toddler (or older child) and some how completely run out of ideas for what to do? Then I welcome you to a day in the life with my toddler and how reading one book helps us plan out how we play and learn together. Sometimes all you need is a little inspiration to get the creative juices flowing.

 How One Book Inspired Our Whole Day: A Day in the Life

Reading How to grow a Friend


I use to keep most story time sessions for our bedtime routine, but I have come to find that reading before breakfast has made a perfect moment to focus all my attention on Sophia before tackling the daily duties of my life. My 3-year old naturally wants to play 24/7 and I figured we could extend the morning book into segments of play/learning opportunities over the course of the day just by relating points in the story to our life.

7 am-We started off our day with letting her pick out a story.This gives her a chance to feel some sense of control. We read, “How To Grow a Friend” by Sara GillinghamThe book has really cute illustrations and will compare how growing flowers are how friendships are made. This story was like getting two birds with one stone, gardening and treating others nicely.

         How to Grow a Friend

Cover of "How To Grow a Friend" by Sara Gillingham


8 am-Breakfast is a good time to talk about foods that grow from the earth and that even some flowers are edible. I found some fun food ideas for a flower theme on Fantastic Fun and Learning. 

10 Flower Snacks for to make and healthy, too! from Fantastic fun & Learning


Stacy Brewer, fellow blogger at who has gardened and grown her own food and edible flowers, says both arugula and violas are fun to grow and eat with kids. Check out her site for some more info on how to grow your own food in the garden and save money.


Edible violas


10 am – If you cannot grow at your home visit the local community garden. You can bring your own seeds to tend and harvest with just a small annual membership fee of 2 dollars. This is the prefect hands on experience of growing flowers and vegetables just like the story. There are so many benefits to bringing kids here to experience this!  Highland Gardens is in Hollywood, Florida and I found the place by typing “community gardens in (enter your city name)” into Google


12 pm Lunch Time. If you have a picky eater try to gradually work in one veggie at a time. After all this flower talk it is big fun to eat all the parts of one or at least one spinach leaf. 

 Via Mpmschoolsupplies

Spring Garden and Plant Kindergarten Lesson Plan


2 pm – Set up a play date to grow a friend. We met up for a play date with a local Facebook group called Broward Mommy meetup that schedules meet ups for parents with kids of all ages. When we want to get out of the house and get the wiggles out we can go to a local park, mall, or arcade where Sophia can play with friends in the Mommy meet up. During play time I can remind her of the story and building friendships. I even heard her ask one girl what her favorite color was. 


Play Date


4 pm – Make garden themed art and crafts. Doing a sensory art activity with flowers and things from nature is fun no matter what age. we made a flower place mat with clear contact paper that is from teachingtinytots. 

flower placemats



A Sensory bin is easy to throw together with this theme as well. I love this one on Growing a jeweled rose. You just need some artificial flowers, small planting pots, and dirt. This is done supervised and I like to set up Sophia next to me in the kitchen while we prep dinner. 



Planting flowers sensory bin



If you run out of time in one day extend the lesson. You can offer to create more opportunities to learn and talk about flowers for the rest of the week or extend the lesson further into other categories if they are still interested.

I know if she likes something by the amount of time spent on the activities. If she’s not interested we just move on to something new and head back to the book shelf for some other ideas. I am going to start teaching some site words just to make her aware of them. Finding the Teachable Moments  has some really creative ways to make this fun and with flowers of course. 


Word Garden- Plant a word and help it grow!  Fun activity to teach sight words or letter sounds with a gardening theme. - Finding the Teachable Moments



*There are also resources for free printable worksheets with letter practice and fruit and vegetable sorting on Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas.


From my family to yours, have a great day!

Rachael and Sophia


Do you have lesson plans to go along with a book or other inspirations? Please share about how you plan your day, I would love to hear about it in the comments.


Visit our Pinterest page to see other themes. I will be updating them regularly.



Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • A Day as Mama and Data ManagerBecca at The Earthling’s Handbook explains what she actually does as data manager of a social science research study, as well as Mama to a baby and a fourth-grader.
    • Pictures of a DayA photo montage of a typical day in the life of Life Breath Present! You can see how she wakes up and spends her time in quiet, to Baby Boy sleeping at dinner, making natural products, and so much more!
    • Community-schoolingDionna at Code Name: Mama and her family don’t home school, they community school!
    • A day in the Life in La Yacata Read how Survivor and her family at Surviving Mexico Adventures and Disasters spend their Sundays off-grid in rural central Mexico.

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About Rachael Fernandez

A bookworm mom and writer on B is for Bookworm. She writes about how to survive the early years of parenting and homeschooling. To get in touch with her email- and visit these social media links to get regular updates.

  • What beautiful pictures! I love those ideas, and the book looks great too. As it’s starting to get warmer in the UK, where I live, I’m definitely looking forward to spending more time outside with the kids. It’ll be fun to start growing things again. Thanks for the inspiration 🙂

    • Thank you for your kind words Marija :). I’m glad you liked these ideas because they really help us get through the day. Having small children at home should be considered for a military training course lol. What are your favorite things to grow?

  • I love this post! We do a lot of reading in our home (as in, pretty much all day long…), and while we spend a lot of time talking about the books as we go, examining the pictures, thinking about what might happen next, figuring out what the characters might be saying, etc., each story doesn’t usually get considered beyond that. Maybe we will start trying to find ways to connect the books we read with other activities during the day like this!

    • thank you and I am happy to hear you found these ideas helpful! I see you are reading some fun books with your toddler too. I would love hear about which ones you read and recommend.

  • I love the idea of using a book to help inspire a day. I might have to start doing that in the next couple of months as my toddler turns 2. I look forward to having him help in the garden this summer. He really enjoyed picking tomatoes and peppers last summer.

    • Reading books together gets easier over time but I am so glad we started young and made it routine. 2 years-old is perfect timing to start and have a small basket of books in the room accessible for him. Feel free to share some book titles that you like with u to :).

  • I love thematic approaches to learning and use them at every opportunity!

    • I agree, its a great way to extend and branch out into other areas of learning. When Sophia looses interest in one topic I will put it on the back burner and then look for another activity.

  • What a neat idea! Such a fun, cool, and learning adventure all day, based off of one book! I love that idea. Now to see if I can implement something like that with Baby Boy on occasion 😉

    • Thank you for your kind words. I love how you involve your little one in all parts of your life which is really the best learning moments. I create conversations for us to have based on things she likes. Even if they cannot speak a lot of words it is fun to see them “talk” about it.

  • So many good ideas! I find myself so caught up in homeschooling my older child that I rarely take time to focus like this on my own 3yo. Thank you for the inspiration!

    • Thank you Dionna! I am glad this was an inspiration for you and I feel honored to be apart of the Carnival of Natural Parenting this month! Thanks for stopping by and being a wonderful host.

  • I love the idea of reading a book before breakfast. It’s so cute that you planned your day around the book too. I’m definitely stealing the contact paper nature art idea. Thanks for sharing!

    • Enjoy Claire and the contact paper is such a useful art supply to have on hand with toddlers. Let me know how the mat turns out and I thought you might be interested in see other fun ways to use the contact paper. Take a look here-

  • What a great idea! It’s just like a unit study in homeschooling. I need to try the idea of eating a plant with my kids.

    • Thanks Lauren! I am so happy to share this with you and the rest of the group in the Carnival! You have an incredible group of writers here and I am having a blast visiting and reading how everyone’s day spans out for them. You rock :)!

  • I really like this. I’ve been feeling particularly out of ideas for how to play with my 3-year old lately, so I’m so glad you linked this up at Booknificent Thursday this week. I think I’ll try starting the day tomorrow with him and a book! Great idea!

    • Thank you Tina :)! I have been there and my DD has enough energy to resemble a mini tornado. I am so glad you can use this with your child and I hope you let me know what works or doesn’t work for you.