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The Book of Gardening Projects for Kids: 101 Ways to Get Kids Outside, Dirty, and Having Fun
     

The Book of Gardening Projects for Kids: 101 Ways to Get Kids Outside, Dirty, and Having Fun

5.0 1
by Whitney Cohen
 

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“What better way to begin to explore the natural world than to experience the magic and beauty of a family garden.” —Arden Bucklin-Sporer, author of How to Grow a School Garden

Many gardeners find that once they have children gardening goes the way of late-night dinner parties and Sunday morning sleep-ins. Raising kids

Overview

“What better way to begin to explore the natural world than to experience the magic and beauty of a family garden.” —Arden Bucklin-Sporer, author of How to Grow a School Garden

Many gardeners find that once they have children gardening goes the way of late-night dinner parties and Sunday morning sleep-ins. Raising kids and maintaining a garden can be a juggling act, leaving the family garden forgotten and neglected. But kids can make great gardening companions, and the benefits of including them are impossible to ignore. Gardening gets kids outdoors and away from television and video games, increases their connection to plants and animals, and helps build enthusiasm for fresh fruits and vegetables. Their involvement becomes the real harvest of a family garden.

In The Book of Gardening Projects for Kids, Whitney Cohen and John Fisher draw on years of experience in the Life Lab Garden Classroom and gardening with their own children to teach parents how to integrate the garden into their family life, no matter its scope or scale. The book features simple, practical gardening advice, including how to design a play-friendly garden, ideas for fun-filled theme gardens, and how to cook and preserve the garden's bounty. 101 engaging, family-friendly garden activities are also featured, from making Crunch-n-Munch Vegetable Beds and Muddy Miniature Masterpieces to harvesting berries for Fresh Fruity Pops.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Parents who rely on the authors’ child-inclusive approach to gardening will reap rewards that go far beyond the produce bin.” —Booklist

“This is a useful and inspirational guide to introduce children to the fun of growing and eating delicious fresh food. Expertise gleaned from California’s Life Lab Garden Classroom helps adults foster gardening enthusiasm in grades four-plus.” —Library Journal

“Offers pointers for designing family-friendly gardens, involving kids in the work of growing and encouraging them to eat the fruits of their labors.” —Akron Beacon Journal

“Cohen and Fisher will help your kids develop their green thumbs.” —The Sierra Club

“Full of ideas and projects for plots (or patience levels) of any size.” —BookPage

“This hands-on approach makes school garden projects accessible, inexpensive, and sustainable.” —San Francisco Green Schoolyard Alliance

“A visual feast for the eyes and will inspire you to make room for a garden in your yard.” —Handbook of Nature Study blog
 
“Fun ideas for things to do with children.” —Philadelphia Inquirer

“This joyful book provides inspiration and instruction on doing just that.” —Rockland Courier-Gazette
 
“Children will be able to deeply connect to their space of green, no matter what size the garden is.” —ArtsAnts.com
 
“This book is full of fun, fresh ideas.” —Owl and Twine blog
 
“A great go-to source of fun for years to come.” —ABCs and GardenPeas.com

Sierraclub.com
“Cohen and Fisher will help your kids develop their green thumbs.”
Children's Literature - Meredith Kiger
Written by two members of Life Lab, a longtime nonprofit organization created "to teach people to care for themselves, each other and the world through farm-and garden-based programs," this holistic approach is designed to encourage families to get involved in gardening. Touting kids as natural gardeners, the nutritional advantages of freshly harvested foods and the fostering of family values through gardening, this comprehensive book (264 pages) touches on everything from Making Gardening Fun for Kids, Designing a Play-Friendly Garden, theme gardens, Animals in the Garden, Preserving the Harvest, Art in the Garden and on and on. Anecdotal color photos depict families in the gardening process or just having fun. Chapters may include directions for gardening projects, art projects, using gardening finds, recipes and plenty of advice for including the whole family. There's even a chapter featuring gardening games. It's inspiring but a bit overwhelming if you are a gardening beginner. A metric conversion chart, a list of activities for certain ages and situations, suggestions for further reading and an index are included. Reviewer: Meredith Kiger, Ph.D.
Akron-Beacon Journal

"Contains tons of unique gardening ideas…making this book a must-have."

The Courier Gazette

"Offers pointers for designing family-friendly gardens, involving kids in the work of growing and encouraging them to eat the fruits of their labors.”

BookPage

“Cohen and Fisher will help your kids develop their green thumbs.”
Booklist

"Full of ideas and projects for plots (or patience levels) of any size."
Philadelphia Inquirer

"Parents who rely on the authors' child-inclusive approach to gardening will reap rewards that go far beyond the produce bin."
San Francisco Green Schoolyard Alliance

"Offers fun ideas for things to do with children."
ABCs and Garden Peas.com

"Useful and inspirational guide to introduce children to the fun of growing and eating delicious fresh food.”
LearningTable.com

"A great go-to source of fun for years to come."

Library Journal
★ 12/01/2016
Expertise gleaned from California's Life Lab Garden Classroom helps adults foster gardening enthusiasm in grades four-plus.
School Library Journal
Gr 4 Up—Packed with ideas for creating kid-friendly garden spaces and activities, this book will be useful to parents, families, and group leaders. Excellent-quality, full-color photographs on almost every page show adults and children sharing, working in, and enjoying vegetable and flower gardens. The text is practical and down to earth in presenting ways to engage youngsters in the process of growing, harvesting, and processing food as well as how to protect their gardens from insects, toxic plants, water features, etc. The illustrated instructions and recipes are sprinkled throughout the chapters and then listed and indexed by ages and areas of interest, e.g., for getting messy; garden parties, etc. These guided activities are balanced with advice to let children play (making mud pies, providing a dirt pile for toy cars and trucks), recognizing the importance of balancing work and play. This is a useful and inspirational guide to introduce children to the fun of growing and eating delicious fresh food.—Frances E. Millhouser, formerly at Chantilly Regional Library, Fairfax County, VA

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781604692457
Publisher:
Timber Press, Incorporated
Publication date:
05/29/2012
Pages:
264
Sales rank:
359,538
Product dimensions:
7.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

Related Subjects

Read an Excerpt


Preface
Think back. Can you remember a natural, outdoor space that held some magic for you? Maybe it was a lake where you discovered the peace of rowing a boat or skipping stones, or a field of tall grass where you played hide-and-seek with friends. Over time, all of us discover certain outdoor places where we feel both a sense of peace and the spark of adventure. In these places we feel that we are part of something immense and phenomenal as we remember our connection to the plants and animals, sun and rain, soil, and everything else that makes up the natural world.

Now imagine if you were able to spend time in this place every day, year after year. Envision watching this place grow and change over time, just as you grow and change. What impact would it have on your life? How might this place influence your perspective, your decisions, your sense of yourself and the world?

This is the gift of the family garden. As we harvest vegetables, run through the sprinklers, or gather with friends to celebrate the apple harvest, the family garden is a place where—day after day, year after year—we are reminded of our membership in the intricate web that connects all living things.
 
A New Perspective on Gardening
Many gardeners find that once they have children, gardening goes the way of late-night dinner parties and Sunday morning sleep-ins: right out the window. Raising kids and maintaining a garden can be a juggling act and, at times, a family’s garden may be forgotten or neglected. In this book, we hope to make it easier for you to merge the garden into your family life, to engage your children in various aspects of your outdoor spaces, and to manage your family garden, no matter its scope or scale.

It may seem counterintuitive, but kids can make great gardening companions. In home gardening, rewards may be measured in basketfuls of strawberries, tomatoes per plant, or even the diameter of the largest pumpkin. Once you involve kids, however, you may start to look for other rewards, such as the frequency with which you hear phrases like, “More kale, please,” or “I watered my pea seed every day, and today it is being born!” Your children’s love for the outdoors, their sense of connection to plants and animals, and their enthusiasm for fresh fruits and vegetables are the real harvest of a family garden.
 
Returning to Our Roots
Picture this. Sonya, age 8, is weeding her pumpkin patch. Out of the corner of her eye, she is surveying the corners of her family garden, looking for the toad she heard croaking last night. Her mother is pruning a shrub and giving the trimmings to Sonya’s 6-year-old brother, who is collecting the big sticks for a fort and adding the small trimmings to their compost pile. Sonya’s father is grilling garden-fresh vegetable kabobs for everyone, while her grandmother uses a field guide to identify the bird she sees playing in the birdbath.

For centuries, children and adults have worked together to cultivate the land. In this century, however, the prevalence of large-scale farms and grocery stores has made growing our own food less necessary, and thus less common. Many families, however, are returning to their roots, planting window boxes, patio containers, front yards, backyards, and community and school gardens. Everywhere you turn these days, from big cities to small towns, you can find families revisiting the longstanding tradition of gardening together. What is behind this resurgence? Why have families started to trade pre-bagged salads and microwave dinners for seeds and trowels?
 
Whether they are building miniature fairy homes from sticks and leaves or watering their very own tomato plants, kids in a garden have loads of opportunities to explore the outdoors, get physical activity, and gain exposure to fresh, healthy foods. As they see melons growing out of the soil or chickens laying eggs, they begin to recognize that food comes from plants and animals. As they lend a hand in caring for those plants and animals, they develop a sense of connection to the natural world around them. By weaving a garden into family life, parents and kids discover learning opportunities and make memories that will last a lifetime.

We hope to provide a new generation of parents, grandparents, and other family members with the inspiration and information they need to get dirty, plant seeds, and harvest and enjoy the garden’s delicious rewards with today’s younger green thumbs.
 

Videos

Meet the Author

Whitney Cohen is the education director at Life Lab, a nationally recognized organization that teaches people to care for themselves, each other, and the world through farm- and garden-based programs. Guided by her joy in being outdoors with children, she is the author of the award-winning Kids' Garden activity card set and a contributor to other garden-based learning activity guides. She presents hands-on garden education workshops to varied audiences, including schoolteachers, parents, college students, food service directors, and Master Gardeners across the country. Her expertise in gardening with children comes from years as an environmental educator, a middle school science teacher, a teacher trainer, and, most recently, a mother. Whitney and her husband, Tod, love nothing more than spending time outdoors with their son, Nation.

John Fisher has worked as a garden-based educator for most of his adult life, sharing teachable moments in the garden with thousands of children and adults. John designed and has maintained Life Lab’s one-acre Garden Classroom site, has contributed to a multitude of garden-based curricula, and has created videos and websites on garden-based learning, both at Life Lab and at the University of California Santa Cruz Farm. His first memorable gardening experience was as a child harvesting cucumbers and tomatoes in his grandfather’s garden. With his wife, Nadine, and four-year old son, Neli, John tends a small suburban garden plot of fifteen dwarf fruit trees, mixed berries, vegetable and cut flower gardens, and a small flock of friendly hens in Santa Cruz. Seeing his son searching for the ripest berries and feeding snails to their hens puts a smile on John’s face.

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