Getting Kids into Gardening: 10 Board and Picture Books + 2 Activity Guides

I spent a bunch of time in the garden this weekend, which got me thinking about how kids can be introduced to gardening – both the joy of it and the science.

The best way to learn is often by doing, but when children are very young it can also be helpful to introduce concepts through books. Here are 10 board books and picture books to try with your kids, plus 2 activity guides for when they’re ready to get their hands dirty.

1.

Planting a Rainbow
by Lois Ehlert
Ages 1 – 3

2.

The Tiny Seed
by Eric Carle
Ages 3 and up

3.

Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt
by Kate Messner
Illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal
Ages 5 – 8

4.

Oh Say Can You Seed?: All About Flowering Plants
by Bonnie Worth
Illustrated by Aristides Ruiz
Ages 4 – 8

5.

Jack’s Garden
by Henry Cole
Ages 4 – 8

6.

One Bean
by Anne Rockwell
Illustrated by Megan Halsey
Ages 3 – 6

7.

Garden Wigglers: Earthworms in Your Backyard
by Nancy Loewen
Illustrated by Rick Peterson
Ages 4 – 9

8.

From the Garden: A Counting Book About Growing Food
by Michael Dahl
Illustrated by Todd Ouren
Ages 4 – 8

9.

The Curious Garden
by Peter Brown
Ages 3 – 6

10.

My Garden / Mi Jardin (English and Spanish Edition)
by Rebecca Emberley
Preschool and up

Ready to get your kid out there exploring the wonders of gardening?
Here are 2 activity guides:

1.

Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots: Gardening Together with Children
by Sharon Lovejoy

2.

Gardening Lab for Kids: 52 Fun Experiments to Learn, Grow, Harvest, Make, Play, and Enjoy Your Garden (Hands-On Family)
by Renata Fossen Brown

Do you and your kids have a favorite gardening activity? Please share in the comments section. I’d love to hear about how you teach while playing in the dirt.

FTC Required Disclosure: This blog features Amazon Associate links, including linked images. Purchases made through these affiliate links will result in a my receiving a small commission. This applies to all products purchased at Amazon through the link, regardless of whether or not I’ve mentioned the product on this blog. All reviews are my own opinion. I am not paid in any other form to write reviews. The commission that I make through Amazon helps me maintain this blog without other types of advertising.

Building a Joyful Life: A Beautiful Legacy

GrassRoots 2014
Wassa Pan Afrika Dance Ensemble at the 2014 Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival

Life is not all about books. I know this is hard for some of us to grapple with, but it’s true. At the very least, we need to eat, sleep and stay in touch with others. And then there’s all the stuff we’d rather not do – the stuff that feels like drudgery – but needs to be done.

There is a rhythm of life that involves the pleasant and the unpleasant, the necessary and the frivolous, the yin and yang. Life is both chaotic and beautifully ordered. We may not get to choose some of the things that happen to us, but we do get to choose the tone of our song. And, we can choose to give our energy and time to activities and thoughts that bring us happiness. I believe that this is, in part, how we build a joyful life.

My version of a joyful life is filled with books, obviously, but it is also filled with music. That’s why I’m taking a break from reading for the next four days to enjoy the Finger Lakes GrassRoots Festival of Music & Dance with my sister and her family. There will be music and dancing at four different stages. It isn’t for everyone. Not everyone likes music or the type of music played here (Roots, Bluegrass, African, Zydeco, Reggae, Latin and more), and some think four days of this is torture, but that’s not me. I love music! The GrassRoots Festival has become my annual pilgrimage – my yearly reminder that there’s more to life than working to make a living. You’ve got to enjoy the living. As an added bonus, the GrassRoots Festival donates its profits to local education and health programs, including its own initiative called Roots in the Schools, so I know my vacation money is doing some good in the world.

All by itself the GrassRoots Festival is a great time, but one of the most fulfilling parts of my annual trek to Trumansburg is watching my young nephew revel in the music and dancing. He’s the kind of kid who can’t stop himself from dancing when he hears a great song. It’s enough to warm the coldest of hearts.

Without delving too deeply into the nature vs. nurture argument (I believe most things this is applied to are a mixture of both), I will say that I have a deep appreciation for how my sister and her husband expose their son to a wide array of culture. How do they do this? They take the time to enjoy their own lives. By appreciating the world around them, they immediately teach him how to do the same. I think that is one of the greatest gifts they give to their son. It’s a beautiful legacy.

How are you passing on your love of life to your children?

When you’re not reading, what do you enjoy doing?

Leave a comment below, and let me know how you’re building your joyful life.


Here are some of my favorite pics from past years of the GrassRoots Festival.

GrassRoots Festival 2013 Happiness Parade
GrassRoots Festival 2013 -Happiness Parade
GrassRoots Festival 2013 - Happiness Parade
GrassRoots Festival 2013 – Happiness Parade
Prayer Flags - GrassRoots Festival
GrassRoots Festival 2014 – Prayer Flags
Wassa Pan Afrika Dance Ensemble - GrassRoots 2014
Wassa Pan Afrika Dance Ensemble – GrassRoots 2014
GrassRoots Happiness Parade 1014
GrassRoots Festival 2014- Happiness Parade

Review: The Moon is Going to Addy’s House


The Moon is Going to Addy’s House
by Ida Pearle
Published by Dial Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Group (July 7, 2015)
Ages 3-5

My Rating: 5 Stars

Review:
I have my sister to thank for leading me to The Moon is Going to Addy’s House by Ida Pearle. She e-mailed me about it a couple of weeks ago before the official release date of the book. The cover art and an investigation of Ida Pearle’s website were enough to convince me to pre-order a copy. I’m glad I did.

Addy and her family travel from a friend’s home in the city to their home in the country. Along the way, Addy and her sister wonder at and play hide-and-seek with the moon, which is always there, even when it’s hiding behind the landscape. As the sisters prepare to go to bed after the drive home, Addy concludes that the moon is her constant companion – it watches over her, always.

The Moon is Going to Addy’s House is visually striking. There are very few words to this story; only those that are needed. In fact, I had to read it several times before the words sunk in. The images really take over. Ida Pearle’s colorful cut-paper collage illustrations gorgeously tell the tale. With color, texture, sweeping spreads and ideally placed details, Ida Pearle has created a story that moves you from dusk to night and into a dreamy, comforted state of mind – perfect for a bedtime read.

On her website, Ida Pearle notes that the story is also a metaphor for parental love. There are subtle hints of this throughout the book, but it is very clear from the visual at the end of the story. Personally, I love a story with multiple meanings. Don’t you? A metaphor adds depth, especially when it touches a core emotion.

The emotional depth of The Moon is Going to Addy’s House, along with its stunning artwork, gives it a good chance of becoming a modern classic.

Have you read The Moon is Going to Addy’s House? Let me know what you think of the story in the comments section below.

FTC Required Disclosure: This blog features Amazon Associate links, including linked images. Purchases made through these affiliate links will result in a my receiving a small commission. This applies to all products purchased at Amazon through the link, regardless of whether or not I’ve mentioned the product on this blog. All reviews are my own opinion. I am not paid in any other form to write reviews.

Family Camp

tents

Here is a poem I wrote. It is inspired by the tent city that pops up each Independence Day at our family homestead. Happy 4th of July!

tentsil_570xN.97831249


Family Camp

Going to Grandma and Grandpa’s
Packed up in the car tight
We’ll be staying over
Two days and a warm summer night

Grandma greets us with kisses
Grandpa gives a high-five
We hear aunts in the kitchen
Hooray! Our cousins arrived

Night settles us in to camp
Together in tents on the lawn
At first light, we go swimming
We are wild with laughter and song

Grandpa tells us his stories
We help Grandma bake a pie
We don’t worry about anything
Until Mom says, “time for goodbye”

With a show of whimpers and shouts
We madly protest the end
“So long” dear cousins
Until we’re together again

© Sheryl Davis, 2015