Post written by Contributing Writer, Daniele.
Spring is upon us and with it comes planting season — a much anticipated time for many! But whether you’re a seasoned gardener or one who simply enjoys the produce of others’ efforts, this time of year is an excellent opportunity for teaching children where food comes from.
Understanding the process from seed to plant or from fruit and veggies to table can be explored through literature and simple projects. I’ll share some books our family has enjoyed in the past ~ your local library may carry some of these titles:
Roots Shoots Buckets & Boots ~ An excellent book on gardening together as a family! Detailed watercolor illustrations, many ideas for planning including garden themes , nutritional information, art ideas, etc. makes this book fun and informative as well. (Michele’s note: I think this one is our family’s personal favorite!)
The Vegetables We Eat ~ Great information on how veggies are grown and the process of traveling to the grocery store. Use this to teach how botanists categorize veggies–by the part that we eat: tuber, leaf, stem, bulb, flower bud, root, seed, or fruit.
A Seed is Sleepy ~ A personal favorite of mine! This picture book’s gorgeous illustrations are captivating and the information on seeds and their ‘abilities’ well presented. Such as… “a seed is clever: it knows to seek the sunlight, to push itself up, up, up through the soil.”
Up, Down, and Around ~ Wonderful for preschoolers! Have fun learning about veggies that grow underground, some that grow above ground and others that grow all around the garden. A pleasing read-aloud for young ones.
Tops & Bottoms ~ This book will make you laugh! A lazy bear falls prey to one smart hare’s tricks through several gardening seasons — promising to eat either only ‘tops’ or ‘bottoms’ of various plants, not actually understanding much about what parts of plants can be eaten. A great follow-up to Up, Down and Around!
The Carrot Seed ~ Gardening takes patience and lots of faith that the seed will actually grow into something more. This little book emphasizes these aspects in a very short and quick read-aloud (could also be an early reading book for some).
If your family plants and grows a garden, practical opportunities abound for teaching children about seed germination, plant growth and care and much more. If not, approaching a small project with simplicity can also be a rewarding experience for your child.
Grow a bean plant :: a quick result plant! Take a few pinto beans and soak them in water for 15-30 minutes. Place between two wet paper towels, slip into a plastic bag and tape to a warm window which receives moderate to strong sunlight (this way your child can watch all of the action). The skin will get soft & wrinkly and begin to sprout. When about several inches, transfer to a larger flower pot. A great book to go along with this simple project is One Bean or From Seed to Plant.
The idea is to explore with children the nature of food and the gardening process. Dig into a few books (pun fully intended! :)) for fresh ideas and further explanations of what is happening underground. Spring is here, so enjoy the season!
Daniele is a pastor’s wife and homeschooling mama of five–a woman on a journey towards intentional living. She celebrates family, gathers up grace, and nurtures the spirit over at Domestic Serenity. You’re welcome to visit!