This last year has been tough for every human both young and old. As winter comes to a close, and we hope life moves closer to normal once again, planning a garden experience for you and your children might be the perfect pandemic remedy. You’ve probably heard that gardening can be good for your physical and your mental health.  Not only is that true, now we have research studies that prove it. I’ll be sharing more on that in weeks to come!

Class of children sitting around a tray of lettuce seedlings

This week, I’d like to focus on the garden experience as a great educational opportunity.  For those doing remote learning or home schooling, a garden offers solid options for studying earth science… in a garden you can learn about seeds, germination, photosynthesis and soil chemistry, for example. But do you know a garden could also help with math, reading, history and even art skills? School gardens are popular because they can be used to successfully teach so many aspects of the curriculum. Here are a few ideas:

  • Math: Plan your garden and measure it to learn about area. Learn how to measure how many seeds go into a one-foot row. How many pounds of carrots can a 20’ row of carrot seed grow?
  • History: How did gardens help the colonists survive? Where in the world did corn originate? How have farms shaped Maine’s history? How are culture and gardening related?
  • Art: Explore color, form, symmetry and texture in the garden. Paint a still life, Design and build a toad house. Draw your garden design plan.

There are hundreds of ways to incorporate gardening into the curriculum and I’m including a few links to my favorite sites to get you started.

Girl watering plant with adult supervision

  • Kids Gardening — This site has everything you need. You can search their lesson plans by age, subject, season, and more. I highly recommend checking out this site.
  • Cornell Garden-Based Learning. This site is also full of resources.

Gardening in schools or other group settings gives kids a chance to learn about sharing and listening, and can lead to a live-long love of gardening. Both the Community Caring Collaborative and Women for Healthy Rural Living believe that gardening is worth developing a life-long love for, and we hope this blog will continue to inspire kids and their families to get outside and grow!