Your landscape is a ready-made science lab for hands-on learning! Whether you have a small backyard, live in an apartment, on a farm or acreage, you can provide important opportunities for your child or grandchild to experience the wonders of nature.
A garden is a great way for children to interact with nature and learn about the food we grow and eat. This year, consider creating a Zoo Garden, Pizza Garden or Salsa Garden! Plan the garden together with your child. If you need plants or seeds, take your child with you to help buy them. Read the seed packets together, talk about measurements and planting depths. Be creative and make markers for your seed rows. You can do the same if you a planting in pots. As your plants grow, you and your child will grow with them. At harvest, the rewards will be a celebration of the foods your child has helped grow. Don’t forget to involve the entire family in the preparation of your bounty for the table!
Don’t forget about all of the insects, spiders and wildlife found in your area. Build a bird house and create native bee nesting habitats. Get out the magnifying glasses, binoculars and field guides as you explore the wonders of your own backyard. Have you ever explored a crack in the sidewalk? Try it with a child and you’ll find out what an amazing super highway it can be for tiny creatures and plants!
Looking for ideas? Check out these resources from Nebraska Extension:
- Youth Gardening Activities (Zoo, Pizza, Salsa Garden Ideas)
- Bring Nature to Your Home or School
- Fruit and Vegetable Factsheets
- Make Gardening Safe for Kids
- Garden, Lawn & Landscape
- Insects, Spiders, Mice & More
- Recipes for Cooking with Kids
- The Learning Child
- Nebraska 4-H
If you don’t live in Lancaster County, Nebraska, please make sure to check out your local extension office too. Your extension office has resources for you, your family and community. To find your local office, visit http://lancaster.unl.edu/office/locate.shtml (nationwide listing).
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