This spring, consider introducing your child to gardening. Not only can you provide a unique educational experience, but gardening also allows you to enjoy the outdoors and homegrown food together. 

Before planting the garden, take a trip to your local grocery store and purchase a variety of fruits and vegetables with numerous types of seeds. Look for a few your child hasn’t seen before. At home, have your child predict what the seeds in each fruit or vegetable will look like. Give your child a journal so he or she can record these predictions and track the garden’s progress throughout the summer. Encourage your child to describe the size, color, shape, texture, and number of seeds he or she expects to find in each item. Then, help your child cut open the fruits and vegetables and compare the seeds and predictions. Record differences in the journal.

Conduct research with your child to determine which foods will grow best in your area and plan to include them in your garden. In the journal, have your child predict the amount of time it will take each fruit or vegetable to reach maturity. When the weather is right, plan your plot and start planting.

Throughout the course of the summer, talk to your child about the wonder of God’s creation as you watch your garden grow. Have your child record plant dates, sprout dates, weekly plant growth, and daily weather trends in the journal. Encourage your child to compare numerical data on a graph for easy comparison.

When the food is ready for harvest, incorporate the homegrown fruits and veggies into a recipe. Challenge your child to practice math skills by changing the size of the recipe. Ask your child to determine how many utensils to set on the table by multiplying the number of people in your family by the number of utensils each person will use. Cooking together is an excellent opportunity to teach about nutrition. Then, enjoy a homecooked meal as a family.

Do you have ideas for encouraging your child’s green thumb?