Children enjoy learning about familiar and unfamiliar plants through planting, caring for and recording their very own secret garden. Here are project tips and instructions, so your child can make his own secret garden.
When it comes to a child’s garden there are important factors to consider.
· Children must be part of the planning. Your child’s ideas and dreams of what their garden should be is important. They might want a sunflower house around their garden by planting sunflowers in a square to form a "room."
- Think small. You might use pots, an old sandbox or a shallow children’s pool as a raised garden bed. Make it manageable for your child.
- Think about the shape. Planting in unique shapes or patterns create an interest in maintaining that shape. (They will “see” the need for weeding.)
- Consider where your child’s garden will grow best. Where is the most sunlight, you will need to choose plants accordingly.
- Help your child choose plants that best accommodate his design, space, wants and your budget.
- Generate excitement and joy with simple garden accessories. Favorite rocks painted like ladybugs, little gnomes, pinwheels, flags, etc...
- Paint Popsicle sticks to mark plant rows with seed packets.
- Paint poles or large branches bound at the top to grow vines…gourds, beans, cucumbers, miniature pumpkins, morning glories.
- Make sure children have a “gardening journal” to record memories, notes and drawings of their plants.
· As your garden grows read the The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett The Secret Garden is about Mary Lennox, who after losing her parents, is sent from India to live in her uncle's gloomy, lonely mansion on the English moors. One day she learns of a secret garden somewhere in the grounds that no one is allowed to enter. Uncovering an old key in a flowerbed, and a hidden door, she enters the secret garden. So begins a journey and a much-loved classic.
Rhonda Cratty includes her experiences of 30 years of public school teaching, raising children of her own, and articles written for on-line and hard copy publications -within the pages of Learning at home. Learning at home can be purchased in print or eBook form through Amazon.com. http://www.amazon.com/dp/1494917203
Excerpt from Learning at Home by R.R.Cratty
Excerpts of spring time family fun ideas that can be found in Learning at home by Rhonda Cratty. Learning at home is a parent resource that can be purchased in print or ebook form through Amazon.com. http://www.amazon.com/dp/1494917203.
1st Excerpt from Learning at Home by R.R.Cratty
Excerpt from May #1, in Learning at Home, -Family gardens triggers curiosity
Let it be their garden: -Filled with their favorite vegetables to eat. -An ABC flower garden, filled with plants from A to Z. They could make it in the shape of a heart, a star, or a magic old English rock trough:
2nd Excerpt from Learning at Home by R.R.Cratty
A trough can be any size or shape. It does not need a big area, 24 inches by 18 inches and 11 inches deep is perfect for a child’s garden. (Paint the boards with your little artist handprints.) A thick layer of pebbles and rocks line the bottom. Filled to the top with fast draining planting soil and you are ready for a wonderful mini-vegetable garden. Some of many “tiny-vegetables” to charm young gardeners are ‘La Belle’-mini filet bean, ‘Little Ball’-mini baby beet, ‘Planet’-a small, ball-shaped carrot, ‘Early Aviv’-baby onions, ‘Cherries Jubilee’-tiny potato, ‘Munchkin’-mini pumpkins and more….
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Another May excerpt: Growing Flowers in Recycled Flower Pots or Containers: If your yard is small, ask Grandparents, friends, neighbors anyone for old pots your children can recycle. A larger pot or container holds moisture longer and provides more space for the plants’ roots. The healthier the root system, the healthier your flowers will be. The container must have a drainage hole in the bottom to allow excess water to escape.
First let them decorate their pot with paints, stickers, anything that makes them smile. Then let your child find rocks to line the bottom of their recycled pot…
4th Excerpt from Learning at Home by R.R.Cratty
Excerpt from May #3, Learning at Home -Backyard Science for Families No matter what they investigate, you will need to help children become conscious of the fragility of life. As they decide what aspects of life they want to study, invite them to suggest how they can "handle everything with care…"
Tools: First children need tools for observation and comparison such as a scale and other standard and nonstandard measuring devices. Children love magnifiers (hand-held or freestanding), and small dental mirrors (found in drug stores) for examining under and around small plants and animals. They will also need containers such as clear plastic cups and containers with lids for collecting insects, seeds, and plants. Cheesecloth and rubber bands for covering containers, clear plastic boxes or terrariums let small insects’ breath. Plastic bags for collecting rocks on walks, and muffin tins or egg cartons for sorting and classifying seeds and plants will keep children busy. You may even consider purchasing (or borrowing) a commercial ant farm or butterfly house, or an incubator for hatching eggs. Remember to include art materials and notebooks for children to create field recordings of their observations…
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Excerpt from June #1, Learning at Home, -Chemistry to Art: Kitchen Paint
When children make paint, they actually see the application of chemistry into art right in their own kitchen. Children are fascinated when they create color to use in their artwork. To make paint you combine pigment (color) with a binder. The binder makes the pigment stick to the support (paper, wood, or other materials you are painting on). Four types of pigment are nontoxic and are thus safe for your children to use. Food coloring is transparent: however, it will not always wash out of clothing. Watercolors are transparent and usually washable. Tempera, acrylics and poster paints are more opaque. Remember many paints will not wash out of good clothing. This is a family activity where everyone is in old clothes, aprons, or big paint shirts…
6th Excerpt from Learning at Home by R.R.Cratty
Learning at home by Rhonda Cratty gives parents an idea a week to challenge and motivate children. 48, four per month, educational learning ideas that can happen anytime. Around the kitchen table, in the backyard, on vacation, everyday within the comfort of family, using objects found around the home and books from any library. Filled with tips for family fun nights, holidays, trips and every day ideas to raise lifelong learners.