Summer

Cut Flower Lesson Ideas

Growing flowers helps teach kids many art, language, language arts, math, and science concepts—along with patience, responsibility, and appreciation for the natural world. Below are some lesson ideas we really like.

Throw a Garden Birthday Party

What better way to celebrate your child’s spring or summer birthday than with a garden party? Although fancy dresses and tea sandwiches may come to mind, kids love to run around outside, play games and get their hands into the dirt-- all fun activities to keep them engaged and maybe even learn a little about the wonders of plants and seeds. Here are ideas for invitations, decorations, activities, refreshments and favors that will make your child’s big day a memorable one.

Honeybees: Powerhouse Pollinators

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When we have breakfast each day, we can thank honeybees for making our meal possible by pollinating the blueberries on our cereal, oranges for our juice, or almonds in our muffins.

Learning about Bee Lives and Hives

When children arrive at the Krystal Garden in the Bronx, they find Jennifer Plewka waiting for them wearing her beekeeper’s suit and holding a large, inflatable bee.

We Get By with a Little Help from Our Friends

We can all use a little help in the garden. And the garden has an army of tiny helpers eager to lend a hand. They are the beneficial insects, ones that behave in ways that are helpful to the crops we grow. These “good bugs” help out in a variety of ways—by hunting and eating (or using as food for their young) insects that are harmful to our crops, by parasitizing insects we consider pests, or by pollinating the fruiting plants we grow.

Middle School Entrepreneurs Reap Pay, Profits, and Pride

Inner City Market Garden: Fresh Produce at Low Cost

A former classroom teacher with a passion for raising healthful food, Arna Caplan was volunteer director of a winning seed-to-table school garden program at an inner city K-8 school in Denver. “The Fairmont garden was always a special and accessible place where all students were welcome and involved,” says Arna. But as in many such projects, finding volunteers to maintain the garden through the summer was a huge challenge.

From One After-School Market to Many

For nine years, students at Steele Elementary School in Denver have been cultivating, cooking, and consuming chard, carrots and more from their campus garden. Then five years ago, garden manager Andrew Nowak, a chef and volunteer from Slow Food Denver, began to think beyond the fence. “We’d had lots of positive feedback from parents about our gardens and produce.

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Funding School Farmers’ Markets

Consider these sources of funding for a school- or district-wide farm stand project: Parent-teacher organizations, health departments and health foundations, hospitals interested in healthy living strategies, local Slow Food programs, urban gardening programs, local school foundations, State Department of Agriculture grants (including grants designed to look at new markets for local produce). Also see links on the Kidsgardening grants page.

Troy Howard Middle School, Belfast, ME

“When a farm market customer asks for an item, the kids go out and pick it fresh from the garden or greenhouse,” says Jon Thurston, agricultural coordinator at Troy Howard Middle School in Belfast, Maine. But selling garden- and greenhouse-raised goods at an after school farm market is just one of the ways students in the school’s ecology academy bring in funds and spread the word about healthy foods and sustainable systems.

Youth Operate an Organic Market Garden in Colorado

“You meet a lot of different people from society all in one place when you sell at a farmers’ market,” says Sam, a young leader in a year-round youth market garden program in Boulder, Colorado. “People seem to come back from week to week to our stand, most know my name, and many want to more know about our program.”

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Last updated on 04/18/2014
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