With the arrival of spring, it's a great time to teach young kids about nature. A wonderful way to introduce them to plant life is with a garden. Though not everyone has room (or time) for a giant plot of land, even a windowsill garden works. Start now by ordering seeds (or picking some up at your local gardening store). Choose a mix of flowers and edibles (either herbs of veggies, depending on the size of your garden). And, with your kids, start the growing process by placing seeds on a wet paper towel (be sure to put the towel on a plate of some sort). Place the dish in the window or an area that gets a fair amount of sun. Check the dampness of the towel daily to make sure the seeds are getting enough water. Within a few days, the seeds should swell and you should see little sprouts of greenery. After about a week, move these seedlings into small paper cups filled about ¾ of the way with dirt. Gently plant the seeding in at a shallow level. Make sure the top of the seedling continues to get direct sun and the soil stays moist. Within a few more weeks, you should have full-on growth and be able to transport the plant/flower to a larger pot or even outdoors!

If you do have room for a garden or at least a couple of pots, be sure to have at least one vegetable, herb or fruit (like tomatoes) growing in it. It's great for kids to participate in the process of growing their own food — and, the simple act of having them nurture something that will, in turn, provide them sustenance. A true example of the circle of life.

For adult/children gardening tips, check out the following websites:

We love Kidsgardening.org's primer on recognizing the opportunities for different types of gardening you can do with your children. It offers everything from the choosing the easiest plants to grow, to getting your kids involved in drawing out/planning a backyard garden.


The Ithaca Children's Garden
Just how strong is a little seeding? The Ithaca Children's Garden has a fun test on the power of plants. Try this experiment at home when you start planting your first seeds!


Cornell University's Garden-Based Learning blog has some great activities and information on creating your own growing program with your children. Check out their blog at: http://blogs.cornell.edu/garden/

So, this month, get growing and get digging!

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