BOOK REVIEW (& Giveaway): The Book of Gardening Projects for Kids

The Book of Gardening Projects for Kids: 101 Ways to Get Kids Outside, Dirty, and Having Fun, by Whitney Cohen & John Fisher (Portland, OR: Timber Press, 2012), 256 pp.

The closest place to get a child exploring in nature can be right in one’s own backyard. Whether investigating the insects crawling about on the front porch or watching birds visit feeders through the window, introducing a child to the notion that we share our homes with all sorts of nature is an important step to raising an environmentally conscious outdoor kid. Getting a kid to share in the excitement and labor of producing some of his or her own food is a rewarding experience. A new book from Timber Press in Portland, OR shares many ways to get kids outside through gardening. In The Book of Gardening Projects for Kids, Garden educators Cohen and Fisher give advice on incorporating gardening into family life – that it can not only be educational and healthy, but downright fun! The chapters range from designing a play-friendly garden and themed gardens, to welcoming animals into your garden and making games to go along with the work. There’s room for art in the garden, too. There’s so much to enjoy about this book: the projects, the anecdotes, the smaller activities, and all the wonderful pictures of kids having fun in gardens. Getting outside does not have to be a trip to the mountains or camping (although kids should get to do these things). All it takes to expose a child to nature on a regular basis is stepping out your backdoor, unless your garden is out the front door.

Patrick in the garden

My son Patrick is a much better eater than I am, eating a wider range of fruits and vegetables that my never-grew-out-of-my-pickiness taste buds can put up with. I credit it this to his helping his mother in the garden each year, and enjoying the harvest that he helped create. I look forward to helping my wife more in the small garden we tend this year, and utilizing a few of the many projects in this book with Patrick, and in couple of years, with Afton.

“By incorporating your kids’ passions into the garden, focusing more on fun and enjoyment than on flawless yields, and weaving the garden into other aspects of your children’s lives, you are setting the stage for raising a new generation of garden-lovers.” – Cohen and Fisher

The giveaway:

To enter for a chance to win a copy of The Book of Gardening Projects for Kids, please comment on this post telling me what your favorite gardening activity to do with your kids/grandkids is/was or what you would like to do in your garden with them. From the entries I will randomly pick a winner. The contest will be open until Wednesday, January 30th, midnight PST. If you would like to enter without commenting, you can send me an email at darwinsbulldog AT gmail DOT com. Good luck!

Planting with mommy

This entry was posted in books, garden. Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to BOOK REVIEW (& Giveaway): The Book of Gardening Projects for Kids

  1. Mel says:

    To be honest, I prefer to be in my garden by myself 😉 but I understand the importance of getting the kids involved. My boys like to plant seeds, water, and eat snap peas, raspberries, and cherry tomatoes right off the vine/bush.

  2. Florinda Page says:

    My favorite part of gardening is making the foot Stones with my granddaughter. Well at least that is as far as I have gotten to gardening. This book would really help both of us learn how to garden and doing it in a fun way she can understand. Working for 18 years on 12 hour shifts I have not had the luxury that I do now as a stay at home grandmother. Now I would like to learn all the fun things about growing healthy foods.

  3. Sheila C says:

    I would love for my son to really understand where food comes from ~ not a grocery store ~ and maybe get him to be more curious and adventurous with trying to eat more healthy foods.

  4. Dawn Cheney says:

    The best part of gardening at our house is preparing the plots before we plant! The kids (I have 6) absolutely love to dig for worms and turn the soil. One of the kids is a fantastic organizer so she draws out the plots and directs the others, who just love getting thier fingers dirty. 😉 harvesting is a bit trickier since they are young and will pick anything that buds even before it’s fully ready, but we are working on it. I’d love to find new activities we can do in the garden while we wait for our harvest.

  5. Cyndi W. says:

    We haven’t tried gardening with our children yet. Just last week, my husband & I were talking about starting this spring. We want to create a small garden with 9 different vegetables. This will be a learning experience for all of us.

  6. My favorite activity with my daughter was eating the cherry tomatoes we had planted. My daughter was almost two last summer and just delighted in the juicy red fruit so sweet and delicious. Every evening upon returning home she would toddle over to the raised bed and fill a small bowl. We would snack on the cherry tomatoes as nightly “dessert”.

  7. Diana says:

    I don’t have kids of my own but I always plan, organize, and plant veggies with all my nieces and nephews. Our favourite crop is zucchini and especially zucchini flowers. We use them is many recipes and all really love cooking together. Our favourite is morning zucchini blooms, washed and fried with an egg! Every time my nieces and nephews see me they always as if we can cook together.

    In my programs, we recently focused on healthy snacks and the children wanted to focus on fruit so we made fruit smoothies, fruit-cicles, and fruit purees that they added to yogourt for snack. We set up a “Dear Abbey” food box where children added their food ‘problems’ and other children wrote back to them giving them advice on how to overcome their problem. Extremely funny….

    The children learned how the plant took the sun’s energy and produced fruit (like a factory.)

  8. Leigh S. says:

    Hmmm, not sure I have a favorite gardening activity with the kids (it’s all pretty fun; for myself, I’m strange, I guess, because I like pulling weeds). However, a family member works at a botanical garden, so the kids and I definitely get lots of exposure to nature and science. Last year’s garden, which they sort of helped me plant, was really bad–gee thanks, drought! (and my black thumb)–but we have lots of “luck” with wild thyme and chives, and our grape vines did OK despite the heat. We also do composting, and they love to look at the composting worms, which are reproducing like mad right now. Goals for this year are to have a thriving edible garden and have fun/learn with it.

  9. Crystal Master says:

    My daughter and I plant a small garden every spring in my little desert garden. We don’t have a lot of time before it gets to hot and it all wilts away! I have this one section of the garden that a fairy visits most nights (pretty colored rocks and gems are left) that make my daughter get excited to check the garden everyday. We’ve been doing this small garden since she was a baby to stress the importance of being outdoors and showing that not all food comes from packages……or McDonald’s. It’s so exciting to see the amazment in her eyes everyday as a tomato gets bigger or a pepper is turning red.

  10. Michelle Fenger says:

    One of my son’s favorite things to plant and watch grow was sunflowers, then roast the seeds. When he was about 7, we had some GIANT sunflowers and took some pictures of him next to those flowers. One of my favorite pictures is his adorable little face next to the huge sunflower head. When he was 16 or 17, we had some more Giant sunflowers. On a whim, one day, I begged him to do the same pose next to those sunflowers and let me take a picture. It always makes me smile to see those two pictures next to each other. He spent a majority of his life helping me garden in one form or another. He is now 22 and when he stops by to say “hi,” he always goes to the garden and chomps on the fresh tomatoes, peas and beans.

  11. Lynn Ann says:

    We have a container garden at our apartment. While we like to plant all sorts of things, my favorite thing to plant with my son is peas because he can easily hold and plant the seeds himself. It is fun for him to see the plants that he planted mature.

  12. Karina says:

    My favorite thing to do with my kids is wild foraging. There is nothing like discovering a hidden cove of wild asparagus. We call ourselves hunters and we’re hunting for whatever the pick of the day is – mushrooms, wild strawberries, peas, asparagus, oregano. It’s so much fun!

  13. Heidi A says:

    The best thing about having a garden is the kids stay out all day, getting dirty, digging for worms & transplanting them in the garden. They find all kinds of bugs, see the veggies sprouting and are excited about it! Makes me a proud mom thinking I DID teach them something & they won’t forget it. The great thing is my 3 yr old is constantly eating so when the green beans are ready he will go outside & snack on fresh beans, my fridge door will stay shut!
    Can’t wait to plant!

  14. darwinsbulldog says:

    And the winner is Mel!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s