Spring is a great time of year to get back into the sunshine and take advantage of teachable moments with your children. If you’re planning a flower, herb or vegetable garden, then you have the perfect setting for learning across all content areas and grade levels. Grab your trowel and let’s dig in!
Math is an easy subject to tackle in the garden. How many seeds should you plant in the garden? It’s all about measurement – with a tape measure, measure the area of the garden. Then, look at the directions on the seed packet to find out how much space each seed will need to grow.
Once you understand how many seeds you should plant, go back to the directions to find out how deep each seed should be planted. Use a ruler to space the seeds, and to make holes for the seeds at the proper depth.
Keep a journal of how your garden is performing. Start with planting day, and write regularly about events that may affect the growth – rain, dry spells, insect infestation, theft by rabbit, etc. Looking back over the journal helps to gain a better understanding what made the garden successful or unsuccessful, and will help inform next year’s planning.
A garden holds a wealth of opportunities for experimentation. Do some fertilizers work better than others? What happens if the garden is watered every other day instead of every day? Will thinning the plants result in a bigger harvest? Separate the garden into zones to examine the results of your experiment vs. the control group. Include journal writing to track the experiments and see which options are worth repeating in future years.
Looking for a marker to remember what you planted where? Painted rocks with the name of each plant can be a beautiful addition to the garden. When everything is in bloom, capture the results with painting, sketching or photography.
No matter which activities you choose, your children will make great memories while they learn. As Cicero said, “If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”