Children’s Books to Inspire Gardening

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Little bitty plants for our patio planters…but oh how they grow all summer!

 

Books about Gardening, Vegetables & Plants:

Corn is Maize by Aliki

Eating the Alphabet – Lois Ehlert

Food Alphabet by David Drew

From Eye to Potato (Scholastic News Nonfiction Readers: How Things Grow)

How Are You Peeling? By Saxton Freymann and Joost Elffers

How Does your Garden Grow? (Little Golden Book)

Inch by Inch – The Garden Song by David Mallet

Jack’s Garden by Henry Cole

Mr. Hobson’s Garden by Marc Gave

Nuts About Nuts by Diane Wilmer and Paul Dowling

Over in the Garden by Jennifer Ward (insects)

Plants by Terry Jennings

The Popcorn Book by Tomie de Paola

The Surprise Garden by Zoe Hall

Tops & Bottoms by Janet Stevens

Vegetables in the Garden – A First Discovery Book

 

Books about Flowers:  

Flowers: A First Discovery Book

How to Grow a Sunflower by S. Karavis and G. Matthews

It’s Science! Plants and Flowers

Let’s Look at Flowers

Sunflower House by Eve Buntin

The Reason for a Flower by R. Hellert

 

Books about plant parts:

Flowers/Fruits/Leaves/Roots/Seeds/Stems by Vijaya Khisty Bodach

Books about Beans:  

Growing Beans by Peter & Sheryl Sloan (uses egg shells)

One Bean by Anne Rockwell

Scarlette Beane by K. Wallace

 

Books about Seeds:

A Fruit is a Suitcase for Seeds by J. Richards

A Seed is Sleepy by D. H. Aston

From Seed to Plant by Allan Fowler

From Seed to Pumpkin by W. Pfeffer

How a Seed Grows by H. Jordan

I’m a Seed by J. Marzollo (compares pumpkin to marigolds)

Just a Seed by W. Blaxland

Oh Say Can You Seed? All About Flowering Plants by B. Worth

One Little Seed by E. Greenstein

Seeds Like These by Paki Carter

Spring is Here! A Story About Seeds by Joan Holub

The Carrot Seed by R. Krauss

The Surprise Garden by Zoe Hall

The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle

We Plant a Seed (Troll First Start Science)

 

 

Books about Fruit:  

Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey

Each Orange Had 8 Slices by Paul Giganti

Fruit – A First Discovery Book.

Orange Juice by B. Chessen, P. Chanko

 

Check out my Pinterest board for more ideas for gardening with children:

Favorite Plants for Children

*Involve the children in picking out the seeds or plants! Their sense of ownership and excitement for gardening is amplified when they are decision makers in what is planted.

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* Keep kids involved in ALL steps — selecting, buying, planting, caring & harvesting! Include composting too so children see the full cycle. One of my children’s favorite job is turning the soil and adding fresh compost to the garden bed. It’s fun to see that rich dark soil and imagine all the wonderful things that will grow there!

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Indoor plants spider plants, hens & chicks, Swedish ivy, African violets, Boston Ferns, and Venus Fly Traps are all great plants for kids to tend year-round. Indoor plants help improve the air quality and children benefit by caring for live plants.

IMG_1652Flowers — are always enjoyable because of their color and aroma, favorites include:

Geraniums a favorite because they will bloom nearly all summer and are easy to overwinter indoors. I love that they even bloom indoors in the winter!

Marigold – easy to grow, come in wide variety of sizes and colors, and easy to dry & collect the seeds. I like to start marigolds in March to be ready as Mother’s Day gifts in May!

Sunflowers– easy to grow, select a variety of sizes from 3 foot to the Mammoth 12ft variety, lots of different colors. Observe them throughout the day to see how the flower moves to gather sunlight. When done flowering, cut off the flower head and dry for several weeks. Collect seeds by shaking them into a bag. Use to feed the birds or save for the next planting season.

Hollyhock– grows very tall and once established comes back year after year

Snapdragons – unique shape, imaginative name, and beautiful colors

Lambs Ear – is a fuzzy and soft plant that is silvery-green. Kids love to rub the velvety leaves!

 

Herbs — are fragrant, easy to grow, and most are perennials (which means they come back each year). Make a Pizza Garden with oregano, thyme, and basil. Dill is easy to sprout and the foliage is feathery and unique. Mints should be grown in a separate patch so it can grow untamed, just don’t plant too near to your garden because it can be invasive. Mint comes in a wide variety including orange, chocolate, lemon, and pineapple.

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Vegetables — are wonderful to grow to show children where their food comes from. Often reluctant eaters will eat the vegetables that they have helped to grow. Favorites include lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, peas, beans, and pumpkins. Radishes are quick to grow and help satisfy kid’s eagerness to pick something!

Fruit — berries are a favorite for children. Strawberries are an early crop so consider having at least a few plants. Blueberries, black berries, and raspberries are wonderful to pick fresh with children. Once established you will be picking these for years to come. Think long term and plant an apple tree!

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Children will enjoy the plants that you enjoy. Help them select a few and get their fingers into the soil!

Check out my Pinterest board for more information about gardening with children:

Gardening with Children: Tips & Tricks

Decide what you define as a successful garden.

If this is your first year gardening with children, my best tips is to start small so that the garden will be manageable and enjoyable. You do not want it to become one more chore and become a burden! IMG_2439

  • Make the garden a child-centered project by involving the kids in every step of the process. From selecting the plants in a gardening catalog, planting seeds, getting the soil read, planting, tending, and harvesting. Allow the children to be part of the entire process!
  • Take a field trip to select and buy plants. If that isn’t feasible, have children help you select plants by circling or cutting out pictures from a seed catalog.
  • If this is school or child care project, try to involve the families in your program by asking parents to each send in one or two plants for the garden, to volunteer to come in to plant, tend to the garden in the summer, and/or to help with the fall harvest.
  • Have the children help you prepare the pots or turn the garden, and then let them help you plant the seeds or plants.
  • Young children do better with larger seeds such as pumpkin, squash, sunflower, or corn. Tiny seeds will often end up clumped together, but you can always thin the seedlings later.
  • Children will help you maintain the garden if you help them see it as fun and enjoyable.
  • Keep kid tasks in the garden to 10 minutes. They will be more excited to help in small chunks of time, such as weeding for ten minutes in the morning and 10 more minutes at lunchtime, then asking them to do a repetitive task for longer.
  • Teach kids how to weed and how to recognize which plants to pull. Make a game of who can fill their bin first, and whoever gets their bin full helps the others.
  • Photograph and journal about the garden throughout the growing season. Keep these mementos out for the kids to view throughout the year so interest in gardening is maintained.