Looking for activity ideas to incorporate into home, school or community garden projects? Here’s a “growing” list to help you get started.
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Harlem Grown: How One Big Idea Transformed a Neighborhood by Tony Hillery and illustrated by Jessie Hartland – nonfiction picture book
When Mr. Tony (Tony Hillery) spotted an abandoned lot across from a school in Harlem, he had an idea. Getting help from the community, he cleaned it up and invited children to help him plant a garden. Through trial and error a farm emerged.
The benefits of gardening with children are many. From getting outside for healthy exercise, to learning patience, to appreciating the taste of fresh vegetables, gardening is a win-win-win activity. Harlem Grown is about making it happen. Share a copy today and you will be glad you did.
Reading age : 4 – 8 years
Publisher : Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books; Illustrated edition (August 18, 2020)
ISBN-10 : 1534402314
ISBN-13 : 978-1534402317
With 60 projects to chose from, how can you go wrong?
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Southwater; Original edition (February 16, 2012)
It’s Our Garden: From Seeds to Harvest in a School Garden by George Ancona is a warm and delightful picture book about a school garden at the Acequia Madre elementary school in Santa Fe. Ancona provides both color photographs and samples of the children’s art work to document the changes that occur with the seasons (review Wrapped In Foil).
Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Publisher: Candlewick (January 8, 2013)
The beauty of this book is that it is geared for year-around fun. Most of the projects can be done in a relatively small amount of space.
Library Binding: 48 pages
Publisher: Millbrook Press (January 1, 2015)
Gardening Lab for Kids: 52 Fun Experiments to Learn, Grow, Harvest, Make, Play, and Enjoy Your Garden (Hands-On Family) by Renata Fossen Brown, Vice President of Education at the Cleveland Botanical Garden
Although the term “experiments” in the subtitle might suggest scientific trials or investigations, for this book “experiment” is actually used more in the sense of “to try something new.” Gardening Lab for Kids is a lovely collection of hands-on activities for children to do for every week of the year, from designing a garden and making seed tape, to planting a garden in a shoe, growing a pizza garden, and constructing a wind chime. In addition, children will certainly learn some science as they explore parts of plants, investigate soils, try out composting, and learn about watering.
Age Range: 5 – 12 years
Publisher: Quarry Books (April 1, 2014)
Math in the Garden: Hands-On Activities That Bring Math to Life, Ages 5-13 by Jennifer M. White, Katharine D. Barrett, Jaine Kopp, Christine Manoux, Katie Johnson, and Yvette McCullough
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: National Gardening Association (2006)
Botany on Your Plate: Investigating the Plants We Eat by Katharine D. Barrett
Science curriculum for grades K-4
Hardcover: 88 pages
Publisher: National Gardening Association (2008)
Success with School Gardens: How to Create a Learning Oasis in the Desert by Linda A. Guy, Lucy K. Bradley, and Cathy L. Cromell
Although written with the Southwest gardener in mind, it contains many tips for managing a school garden that could apply anywhere.
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: Arizona Master Gardener Press (September 1996)
The hardcover copy I have has a slightly different title/cover. It says “Enchanting Outdoor Spaces for Children and Parents.” Enchanting is the right word. Mixed with informative text about how children play and how important it is for them to play outdoors, are photos of fairytale settings for children to play in. On pages 158-159 is a photo and list of the plants in the George Washington River farm alphabet garden.
Series: Archetype Press Books
Paperback: 180 pages
Publisher: Timber Press; Updated Pbk. Ed edition (January 15, 2008)
Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots: Gardening Together with Children by Sharon Lovejoy
This is a classic that deserves to be on every gardener’s shelf.
Series: Gardening together with children
Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: Workman Publishing Company; First Edition, First Printing edition (May 1, 1999)
Growlab: Activities for Growing Minds by Eve Pranis
This book is hard to find, but it is worth the search.
Paperback: 307 pages
Publisher: Natl Gardening Assn (May 1990)
Gardening with Children (BBG Guides for a Greener Planet) by Monika Hanneman, Patricia Hulse, Brian Johnson, Barbara Kurland, Tracey Patterson, and illustrated by Sam Tomasello
This books gets raves. It is indeed the high quality you would expect from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
Series: BBG Guides for a Greener Planet
Paperback: 120 pages
Publisher: Brooklyn Botanic Garden; Reprint edition (April 5, 2011)
Do you have any favorite gardening books for working with kids? We’d love to hear your suggestions.
Find books to share with children in these two lists:
List of Children’s books about seeds.
Gardening activities inspired by children’s books:
Children’s Garden Week Activities at Growing With Science Blog
You might also be interested in our Gardening/Science Pinterest Board: