One of the responsibilities my daughter Grace has had this past year is to serve with Baylor University in starting their community garden. What a wonderful experience. The Baylor students help maintain the garden and the produce is given to local food kitchens. In light of visiting Grace this past week, I thought a wonderful theme week to offer you for the coming week would be one based on gardening. How wonderful to encourage our kids to plant, tend and garden. It offers a tremendous opportunity to grow in patience, responsibility and resourcefulness. Depending on the time of year you choose to use this theme week, you will need to research
Visit a local garden or farm
Take a trip to the nearest Farmers Market and purchase produce
Study and plan out a garden together. Build planter boxes or make preparations.
Shop for seeds and plants together (local nursery or online)
Work with the soil and plant together
Tend and Water each day, create a garden schedule for the kids to help throughout the seasons
Hunt down recipes specifically using fruits and vegetables and create your own family cookbook entitled From the Garden
Recommendations from Elizabeth Kennedy, About.com Guide
Planting a Rainbow
This book is for children four and older, as well as adults, who want to go out and plant a rainbow of flowers after enjoying this book by Lois Ehlert. A mother and child “plant a rainbow,” beginning with bulbs in the fall and seeds and seedlings in the spring, and ending with a beautiful garden of flowers in a veritable rainbow of colors. The book’s striking design and Ehlert’s gorgeous cut-paper collages of flowers make this a particularly appealing book. (Voyager Books, 1988. ISBN: 0152626107)
The Surprise Garden
Three young children plant a “surprise garden,” using seeds of varying shapes, sizes, and colors. Since they don’t know what kinds of seeds they have planted, they have no idea what kinds of plants will grow in their garden. Carefully watering and weeding the seeds, they create a lush vegetable garden and enjoy a bountiful harvest. Shari Halpern’s cut-paper collages of the children cultivating the garden and Zoe Hall’s story will appeal to 3-6 year olds. (Scholastic, 1999. ISBN: 0590100769)
And the Good Brown Earth
Author and illustrator Kathy Henderson’s mixed media artwork adds humor and charm to this picture book for three- to six-year-olds. Joe and Gram plant and cultivate a garden. Gram works methodically while Joe explores and learns, each helped by “the good brown earth.” They dig in the fall, plan in the winter, plant in the spring, weed and water in summer, and gather produce and feast in late summer. The repetition in the text adds to the book’s appeal. (Candlewick Press, 2003. ISBN: 9780763638412)
Paint and decorate clay pots or wooden planter boxes
Purchase white garden gloves and decorate them using permanent markers
Paint bushel baskets to use for gathering produce.
Draw up and color the plans for the garden.
Decorate garden stones (large smooth stones to adorn the garden)
Make mosaic squares for stepping or walking through the garden.
John 15:1-5 Our Father is the Gardener, Jesus is the Vine, we are the branches. Abide in Him
Galatians 6:7 We reap what we sow
Matthew 13:1-23 Parable of the four types of soil
Matthew 13:24 – 43 Parable of the Weeds
Psalm 107:37 – They sow their fields
Proverbs 6:19 – A Person who sows discord