Now that the weather is warming up, you may be looking for activities for the kids to do outside at home. If you haven’t already, give gardening a try! Gardening provides a relaxing outdoor activity while adding beauty to your space, or food for your tummy. Whether you have a large yard or no yard – there are plenty of ways to incorporate gardens into your life. You could plant a bunch of veggies in your yard, grow a small potted plant, create a fairy garden, plant a tree, or even paint some rocks to create a colorful rock garden. Aside from being a fun activity, kids will activate the creative side of their brain by planning their garden. They will also apply some math and science skills through measuring the spacing/depth when planting seeds, observing garden insects, and making observations on the growth of their plants. Gardening is a great stress reliever as well – listening to the sounds of nature and digging in the soil can feel quite soothing. And seeing the growth of whatever they decide to plant will provide a sense of accomplishment. Picky eaters may even be willing to try new foods if they grow them themselves! I have some picture book recommendations with garden themed stories that may inspire your kids to want to try planting their own gardens. An additional book recommendation has some fun garden experiments to try as well. Even if you decide not to plant a garden, these stories will encourage creative thoughts about gardens that will lead kids to imagine what they’d want to grow in their own garden. This may further inspire an enjoyable discussion and possibly motivate them to want to draw or create their own garden from other materials. Happy gardening!
Thank You, Garden by Liz Garton Scanlon
The simple, yet descriptive rhyming text of this story pairs with delightful illustrations to describe a community garden. Children will see how gardens take work, but also how rewarding they are. The people in this story put a lot of work into their garden, but find ways to enjoy themselves while they wait for their plants to grow. Then they all come together to celebrate the fruits of their labor with a garden feast.
The Forever Garden by Laurel Snyder
This is a sweet story about a friendship between a little girl named Laurel and her next-door neighbor, a woman named Honey. Honey spends a lot of time tending to her garden, where she also shares her time with Laurel. Laurel’s observations of Honey and her garden are warm, and somewhat magical. Sadly, Honey ends up moving away but Laurel remembers everything Honey taught her and is able to teach the new neighbors how to keep the garden going.
The Bear’s Garden by Marcie Colleen
The Bear’s Garden was inspired by a community garden in Brooklyn. A teddy bear accompanies a little girl as she is inspired to start growing a plant in a vacant lot. Her love and dedication lead to the growing of more plants. It doesn’t take long for other people to feel inspired by her progress and to come together to make their own contributions to the garden. It becomes a beautiful place for many to grow and play.
My Garden by Kevin Henkes
A little girl helps her mother with her garden and begins to imagine what she would grow in her own garden. Her imagination has no limits as she dreams of growing tomatoes as big as beach balls, seashell plants, jellybean bushes, and flowers that never die. This creative story will inspire your child to imagine what they would like to grow in their own garden.
Let It Grow: A Frozen Guide to Gardening by Cynthia Stierle
Children will enjoy using science process skills as they work through gardening experiments provided by Frozen characters. Activities include step-by-step instructions with photos, and also include questions to prompt children to think about what they observe and to make predictions on what would happen if changes were made to the experiment. Most of the experiments use easy to find supplies you likely already have at home.