Spring is in full swing with sunshine, April showers and, hopefully, lots of May flowers! As nature begins to bloom all around us, there’s no better time to go outside and get our hands dirty in the garden. Gardening as a family, community, or classroom project provides a great opportunity to get kids physically active while teaching them important lessons about local ecosystems and nutrition.
There’s a wide world of gardening out there to explore – from classroom and backyard gardens full of delicious and nutritious vegetables, to pollinator gardens that help supply food and shelter to butterflies, birds, and bees, and even scientific experiments to see how plants grow in space! Cultivating a garden of any kind helps reduce anxiety and boost self-esteem in children (and adults). It can also grow a deep sense of appreciation and responsibility to care for our planet: more important than ever as we see the effects of global climate change.
To learn more about the personal and community benefits of gardening, and how to start one of your very own, dig into the articles, videos, and activities below.
Dig Into Great Gardening Resources
Gardening With Kids: How It Affects Your Child’s Brain, Body and Soul
Grades PreK-3 For parents struggling to find ways to encourage their kids to eat a healthy and balanced diet, gardening can be an important tool. Don’t let the idea overwhelm you. Gardening doesn’t require a perfectly level, large or sunny backyard. The much bigger return is how planting a garden can affect not only your child’s body but also their brain and soul.
Grades PreK-3 Many children have a fear of insects – and that fear can hold them back from playing outdoors and experiencing the world around them. Developing a better understanding of insects, spiders, and other bugs goes a long way toward helping make them less scary. Here are some ideas for helping your child along.
Grades 3-5 This video from KET’s Think Garden collection examines methods of practicing sustainable gardening. Examples explored include plant choice, companion planting, composting, water conservation, and more. Also, learn about things not to do in a sustainable garden like tilling or using pesticides or commercial fertilizers.
Grades 3-12 Urban gardens are powerful tools that can help grow healthy food, reduce our carbon footprint, and increase the overall health of our city environments. By creating a small, contained habitat for plants, pollinators, and other creatures, these tiny garden ecosystems actually contain a huge diversity of animals. This video explores the role that urban gardens can have on an individual, a local, and on a global scale.
Grades 6-12 Horticultural Therapy is the use of plants and gardening to help treat a variety of mental illnesses, traumatic brain injuries and memory impairments. Learn more about the healing power of gardening with this video, discussion questions, and background reading.
Grades PreK-3 Learn how seeds and plants grow, and build observation skills with this hands-on garden activity. First create your miniature garden and then track plant growth with the Nature Cat plant journal.
Grades 3-5 In this media-rich activity from Cyberchase, students review the elements that are needed to make a garden grow. They use math to measure the area of a garden and learn that area can be the same even if the geometric shape is different. Students then apply their knowledge of area and gardening to plan and create individual shoe box gardens.
Planning Your Garden: Video | Nature Works Everywhere
Grades 3-12 Having a successful and productive garden starts with a great plan. In this first How-to-Garden video, learn how to design your garden for the most impact. Maximize the sunlight, water source, soil quality, climate, and budget available to you. This video supports the Nature Works Everywhere Gardens curriculum that includes activity guides and the How-to-Garden video series.