Gardening with Kids
Last summer was the first bountiful little growing season out in our Children's Reading Garden. After a very successful spring and summer of connecting kids back to nature right outside the Children's Department, we are happy to announce that we will once again get to share in watching our tomatoes ripen and our sunflowers grow tall and happy. Not only was our Children's Reading Garden a wonderful way to connect kids back to nature, but it was EASY.
After a little prep work in the spring, the only real care and maintenance we had to do for our little garden was watering daily (since we had mostly containers) if we didn't have recent rain, and a few quick pulls of weeds (and we mean quick!). Besides our lack of space for growing vegetables in the ground, the simplicity container gardening was one of the major deciding factors for us. While you can build raised beds or container gardens, due space and financial considerations we went for the "quick and easy" route of buying some large, plastic storage tubs at a home improvement store and drilling some holes in the bottom for drainage and it worked great!
Starting a small family garden is a great way to show kids how their food gets on their plate, connect them with nature and to get them outside, and maybe best of all -- to keep them busy all summer long! Small gardens are great for kids of all ages. Toddlers will love using a small watering can to help out, preschoolers will love seeing a tomato ripen, and school aged children will love learning how to pick, wash and cook what they grew.
Gardens also offer a unique opportunity to continue STEM (science, technology, engineering, & math) education throughout the summer. With young children you can use your garden as a conversation starter about seasons and how plants grow. And with older children, gardens make a great jumping off point for discussions about ecology, conservation, and technology. For instance, you might use a hose or watering can for your garden, but what infrastructure would be needed to water a large-scale, commercial farm? Or while clean water readily flows from that same garden hose at your house, how does a lack accessible water affect farmers in developing nations?
We have lots of great books available on all these topics available to check out from the library, but first, we also have books to get you (and your plants) started with your garden this spring. Just click on the photo to be taken to the Minuteman Library catalog to see if the book is in or to request a copy if it's not.
We hope you come and visit the Children's Reading Garden all spring and summer long!