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Spring is here and it’s time to get out of the house and into the garden! I’ve learned that most adult gardeners started their hobby as children. And the good gardening experiences we give our kids today become great gardening memories tomorrow. Hopefully, these five site picks will inspire your family (or your classroom) to put down your keyboard and mice and plant something tasty or beautiful.
Bonus: Do you Know your Leaves?
“Do you know your leaves? Get ready for a botanical mind bender. Plants are everywhere – but how often do you pay attention to a single leaf? Test yourself here, by matching leaves with their plant names.” Is it a fir, a birch or a eucalyptus leaf? After trying your hand at this educational eighteen-question quiz, click on over to the rest of Bonus.com’s Garden Playground. To get there, follow the link to “Explore” and then choose “The Earth.”
Composting for Kids
“Composting is fun! It’s also easy. Let’s learn about how we make compost and how we use it to grow beautiful gardens.” Learning how to compost was one of the very first tasks I took on when we moved into our big-yard house. Not only is it satisfying to create our own nutritious mulch for the vegetables and flowers, but it is also ecologically and economically sound. Kids (and parents too!) can learn how in this simple slide presentation.
Great Plant Escape
“Welcome to the Great Plant Escape! My name is Bud. My good friend Sprout and I are helping Detective LePlant on his search. You will find that plants are an important part of your life. We will need your help to find clues, do experiments, and solve problems as we journey into the world of plants.” This fun interdisciplinary Webquest for upper elementary students introduces botany and food science. It is organized into six separate cases, each of which includes activities, mysteries to solve and Web links. Want to integrate the Great Plant Escape into a classroom curriculum? Try the detailed teacher’s guide.
Kids Valley Garden
From planning and planting your garden to maintaining it and entering your plants into competition, this site covers it all. Written expressly for kids, you’ll find great advice (“Keep a Garden Journal to record how and when you worked on your garden and its results.”) and step-by-step instructions. You’ll also find a glossary to help with gardening terms from “annual” to “zone” and separate sections on growing flowers, veggies, herbs and shrubs.
Virtual Garden: Gardening with Kids
With activities (build a backyard weather station), gardening tips (“Crooked rows and weeds are okay.”), several discussion forums, and quizzes (“Why do we have daylight savings time?”) this magazine-style site is suitable for every gardener in your family. Two noteworthy clicks are the Time-Life Plant Encyclopedia (find “look up a plant” at the bottom of your screen) and the Virtual Garden Zonefinder which will show you how and when to garden in your neighborhood.