School is out for summer and parents are searching for ways to keep their children entertained throughout the next few months. Between finding camps for older kids and care for younger kids, keeping inquiring minds entertained is no small feat.
It’s no secret that being outdoors is beneficial to our overall health. From providing Vitamin D, increasing daily movement and boosting our mood, fresh air and sunshine provide numerous benefits to all of us – including our kids.
While school is out, we encourage you to incorporate gardening into your summer fun and to soak in sunshine and some quality time with your kids in the garden.
Not only is gardening a fun activity, but it can also be educational for kids of all ages. While in the garden, talk with your kids about gardening, flowers and the environment as a whole – at their level. For example, for preschoolers learning in the garden may be going on a scavenger hunt for flowers of different colors throughout the nursery, while older children may be ready to learn about the process of photosynthesis or the benefits of composting. Just like plants themselves, start small and grow from there. The ability to learn about gardening and the environment can be introduced at a very young age and can be nourished (and flourish) as children grow.
Here are a few fun activities to incorporate into your summer fun this season:
Print out a garden scavenger hunt sheet HERE and head to Tallahassee Nurseries. Explore with your children and have them search for all of the items on the list.
Younger Children: Read each item on the list and let your child search for the item. If they start to struggle, play ‘hot & cold’ – warm/hot when they move closer and cool/cold when they move farther away from what they’re searching for – to help them find each item.
Older Children: Make a contest (2 or more older children) of who can find all the items the fastest. If appropriate, have them bring cameras and take a photo of each item they find. At the end, see if there are any matches between players for a plant/item and what different plant/item each player found for each category.
Purchase a pot and explore then nursery to find pollinator-friendly plants. Next, pot up your finds to create a garden that is ready for pollinator friends. If you need help finding pollinator-attracting plants, look for the butterfly-attractor and pollinator-friendly tags near the plants or ask one of the experts at Tallahassee Nurseries to help you find the perfect choices.
Younger Children: Before heading to the nursery, read a book together about butterflies – like The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Explain how butterflies, bees and other insects are called pollinators and that they help flowers to continue to grow and create more flowers.
Older Children: You can discuss a variety of topics, including: the life cycle of butterflies, why bees are important to the environment, and all the different pollinators that are found in nature. While picking out your plants, let your children read the details about each plant they select on the informational signs throughout the nursery to learn about each plant variety they’re using in their pollinator garden.
Purchase a wooden bird feeder (available in the Garden Showplace) and have your child paint and decorate it. Stop by the nursery to purchase some bird food to fill it with and a stand to hold it up, if needed.
Younger Children: Once you have your bird feeder painted and full of food for your winged friends, explore with your child online to learn more about the birds they might see feeding from their work – this interactive, educational backyard birds activity allows kids to select a bird and hear more about it (click HERE).
Older Children: If appropriate, you can allow your children to explore websites like PBS (or take some time to learn alongside them) and engage in lessons about birds, including their life cycle and the impact they have on the environment. Click HERE for a page from PBS that includes in-depth lessons and engaging discussion questions for a deep dive into birds.
This is my personal favorite way to involve my kids in gardening. I love that they get to be outside and get their hands dirty planting while having complete freedom to use their imagination in creating their own miniature world right within their pot.
Younger Children: Bring your child to the nursery, select a pot, and let your child pick out a plant (we often use a succulent in our miniature gardens as they require less water and will likely last longer). Next, let your child pick out some miniature gardening pieces for their pot. Head home and work together to create a miniature garden masterpiece.
Older Children: If appropriate, give your children a budgeted amount of money before heading to the nursery. Let them decide what pot, plant(s), and miniature gardening pieces they are going to purchase with the money allotted. Then, head home and have them create their miniature garden all on their own using their imagination.
However you decide to get out in the garden this summer, bring Tallahassee Nurseries along for the journey! Whether you need plants, soil, garden art, gardening wear (be sure to wear sunscreen, hats and proper gardening attire to ensure everyone is safe in the summer sun), or gardening advice, we have everything you need for your garden season after season.
*This article was written by Christine Olive in Partnership with Tallahassee Nurseries