More than 13,000 kindergarten tots around New Zealand will become little green thumbs and showcase their gardening know-how by competing with other kindergartens in their region to grow the tallest sunflower or widest sunflower head.

The 2019 Daltons Sunflowers in Kindergartens Project started on Monday and runs until Tuesday December 10, with winners announced on Thursday December 12. This is the fifth time Daltons has run this popular project.

This year 636 Taranaki children are taking part through 12 kindergartens. Each kindergarten received a free Daltons starter pack including peat pots, measuring tape, seed raising and potting mix and everything the children need to grow their own Kings Seeds Skyscraper Sunflowers, which can grow up to four metres high.

Children will grow their gardening skills and knowledge sowing seeds, germination, caring for seedlings, planting them out and daily care of their plant. They will also be exposed to basic math concepts, measuring and recording their plant's growth each week, and teachers can integrate aspects of the project into their learning curriculum.

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There are a total of 248 kindergartens within 11 kindergarten associations throughout New Zealand who have signed up in the project.

Colin Parker, Daltons General Manager, says the competition element brings a bit of excitement and fun for the children.

"What's at the heart of the project is our mission to ignite a passion for gardening and develop some skills and knowledge from a young age. If these children take a love of gardening home and it inspires their family to start a vegetable or flower garden, then that's the real success of the project for us."

Daltons have also created some practical how-to videos for teachers and children to watch and learn things like how deep to sow seeds, planting out correctly, how the sun affects growth etc.

Regional winners with the tallest sunflower or sunflower with the widest head will receive prizes from Daltons and The Warehouse, and all participating kindergartens will go into the draw to win a gardening workshop at their kindergarten.

At the end of the project, each kindergarten also nominates their very own "Daltons best little gardener," to receive a certificate and prize pack, courtesy of Daltons.

Regularly throughout the project teachers are sent newsletters full of information about sunflowers, learning sheets and fun activities to share with their kindy kids to spark their creativity and learning.