The sun is out and it's getting warmer so that can only mean one thing: spring is on its way! Here are a few activities and books you and your little one can enjoy to get you out and into the garden.
It is never too early to start gardening with your kids. Little hands love getting messy and staying busy, and gardening helps hone all sorts of valuable skills while promoting physical, mental, and emotional health. Here are a few fool-proof activities you can do with your children to get them excited about the garden and also get you ready for the season ahead.
Growing a Snack
Did you know that one of the fastest growing vegetables is the radish? Some varieties of radish are ready to be harvested only 25 days after planting them, so you see your hard work rewarded quickly. Growing radishes at the start of the season is a great way to peak your child's interest in the garden. Once a few radishes look ready, pick them and sit down together to enjoy a nice post-gardening snack. Not only does your child get to see where food comes from, but they are able to engage with it using all of their senses. And, if you put them in charge of the radish plant, you are giving them a chance to take responsiblity.
This activity is pretty simple, but highlights how with a little imagination, everyday items can become beautiful and fun containers for plants. Head to Goodwill (or better yet, your garage) and look for interesting items your plants could live in. Old cans, boxes, and even hats, shoes, and purses make wonderfully quirky containers that show the value in reusing something for a different purpose. Not only are you teaching your kids to reuse, reduce, and recycle with this activity, but you're also encouraging them to look at all of the possibilities, which can help when problem solving.
This may sound silly, but you should set aside garden time to just dig in the dirt, especially with littler kids. A garden is more than a food source or hobby - it's an ecosystem that is waiting to be discovered. From learning about worms to looking at all of the components that make up dirt, there are so many STEM opportunities that come from a little excavation. Digging in the dirt has lots of health benefits as well. For example, it is a great way to stay active since digging is pretty physical and requires using using your muscles. So don't be afraid to get a little dirty!
To start your gardening time, try reading a book with your child. It's a great way to get you both excited and ready to grow. Here are some garden-themed books that are perfect picks.
If you would like to learn more about gardening, or participate in garden activities, check out all NPL Home and Garden events on our calendar. Several locations, like Bordeaux and Edgehill Branch Libraries, have partnered with Plant the Seed, a non-profit that works to bring gardening to children. We also have our own Seed Exchange program which provides seeds to the public. Visit your local library to learn more about how you can check out seeds and keep your child gardening all season long. Happy Growing!