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.
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
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!