gardening is good for kids out of school and with time
to spend outdoors.
builds healthy bodies," says Heather Veneziano,
Children’s Garden horticulturist at the 80-acre Lewis
Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, Va.
lift, dig and move from place to place, which builds
muscles and increases fitness levels.
are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables that they’ve
grown — and to become lifelong veggie lovers.
who spend time outside are sick less often," she
addition, children working cooperatively in the garden
build social skills such as listening, sharing ideas and
taking turns, she notes. It also cultivates patience,
builds confidence and teaches children to nurture and
care for living things.
also become young scientists and develop skills that
help them in school and in life," she says.
tasting, smelling, touching, listening, and seeing the
garden grow and change, they learn about the natural
world in a way that is personal to them, which is a
powerful teaching tool."
are some ways to get started:
Let kids pick a packet of seeds or plant to add to the
garden, or give them a container of their very own,
Work in small sections of the garden. Then look back
together and see the accomplishments.
are some summer-fun projects that get kids outdoors,
growing and having fun:
how to plant a Sunflower House, according to Lisa
Ziegler of the The Gardener’s Workshop in Newport
News, Va., www.shoptgw.com
10-by-10-foot sunny spot with at least eight hours of
cardboard or newspapers to cover the area
mulch such as leaves, pine straw or chops to cover the
area with six to eight inches
bags of compost
sunflower, Teddy Bear sunflower, morning glory and
moonflower vine seeds
stakes and twine
clear away vegetation in a 10-by-10 planting area.
cooking flour to mark an 8-by-8-foot-square planting
area within the 10-by-10-foot house, leaving a two-foot
space for a doorway. Do not prepare or plant the
doorway. The flour outline runs in the center of the
12-inch-wide planting band and is a guide to where the
plants will be planted and where to prepare the soil.
a small shovel and steel rake to loosen and prep the
12-inch band of soil for planting, and incorporate bags
block weed growth inside and outside the Sunflower House
"walls," cover a 12-inch-wide outer perimeter
band with cardboard or overlapping layers of wet
newspapers and then mulch.
cover an interior 7-by-7-foot square with cardboard and
mulch. When done, you have a 12-inch-wide band of
exposed soil for planting.
sturdy garden stakes to support the 10- to 12-foot-tall
Mammoth sunflowers that are the framework of the house.
Install one stake at each corner, both sides of the
doorway and then every two feet along the outline.
seeds or transplants according to seed packet
instructions. Plant a Mammoth at each corner, both sides
of the doorway and then every two feet along the
outline. Plant Teddy Bear sunflowers between the Mammoth
planting a moonflower or morning glory seed a few inches
from each Mammoth sunflower seed.
the plants grow, use twine or panty hose to tie the
Mammoth sunflowers to the stakes.
the vines to grow up the Mammoth sunflowers.
the Mammoth sunflowers develop blooms, use garden twine
to tie from flower head to flower head, crisscrossing
the house. The vines will ramble across the twine,
creating a roof.
weekly. Use organic liquid fertilizer according to
The Sunflower House Seed Collection includes a detailed
instruction booklet with a diagram and one packet of
each type of seeds listed above, or four packs; $18.95
with automatic free shipping until July 20. To order,
or call 1-888-977-7159 or email firstname.lastname@example.org . or
call 1-888-977-7159 or email email@example.com
& Day Garden
in one of the Virginia Living Museum’s
pre-kindergarten camps are planting a "Night and
Day Garden" with moonflower seeds and zinnia seeds,
according to Betsy Wolin, education associate at the
Virginia Living Museum in Newport News, Va.
do this on the day they explore the differences between
butterflies and moths," she says.
attract moths, and zinnias attract butterflies."
an edible experiment, Wolin suggests families can do a
"three sisters planting" of corn, beans and
squash, just like the Powhatan Indians did: the beans
climb the corn, and the squash provides the ground cover
more about the living museum at www.thevlm.org
STORY CAN END HERE)
are constantly inspired by nature, according to
gardeners at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. Create a
garden based on flowers and scenes from famous paintings
to use: Sunflowers, dahlias, iris, gladiolas, hibiscus
and tiger lilies.
to do in the garden: Petal painting — rub petals of
flowers such as violas and pansies on paper and the
pigment comes off; you paint with the petals. It helps
to roll them up a little bit, according to Lewis Ginter.
to read: "The Imaginary Garden" by Andrew
Larson or "The Curious Garden" by Peter Brown.
of all types need our help, according to Lewis Ginter.
Create a garden that feeds butterflies, bees and other
plants to use: Dill, bee balm, milkweed, asters, salvia
and mountain mint.
to do in the garden: Be a busy bee; fly through your
garden pretending that the fuzzy end of a Q-tip is the
fuzzy body of a bee. Visit lots of different flowers,
gently poking your bee body into the center of the
flower. As you buzz along, check the end of the Q-tip
for signs of yellow pollen. As the flowers get
pollinated, seeds start to grow!
Pretend to drink nectar through a proboscis with party
to read: "Butterfly Butterfly" by Petr
Horacech or "Glasswings: A Butterfly’s
Story" by Elisa Kleven.
love the shade and sun, too, so create a garden for your
favorite fairy friends, suggest Lewis Ginter gardeners.
to use: For shade, ferns, Irish moss and coral bells.
For sun, sunflowers, scented geraniums, garlic chives,
zinnias and marigolds.
to do in the garden: Create tiny fairy homes with bits
of barks, moss, sticks, stones and plant pieces.
to read: "Fairy Houses" by Tracy Kane.
more ideas about outdoor learning and fun, visit North
Carolina State University’s Natural Learning
Initiative at http://naturalearning.org/theme-gardens