“Back to School” Backyard Gardening
August is winding down and ads are appearing all over TV and in retail stores. It’s “Back to School” season across Canada. While it’s a mixed bag of emotions for kids, there’s one thing that many are sad about – trading time in their beloved backyard garden for an indoor classroom setting. It doesn’t have to be this way. By following the tips below you can keep their love for gardening activities at home alive through the beginning of their school year, and beyond.
3 Ways Your Backyard Garden Can Help Your Kids Get Excited About Going Back to School
Add an Outdoor Homework Zone in Your Garden
Surprise your kids by creating a space in/near the garden where they can come home after school and work on assignments outdoors during fair weather. It’s a far more engaging alternative to sitting at the kitchen table to memorize times-tables and so forth. Data shows that children better retain information when consuming it in an outdoor environment, so not only are you feeding their desire to be in the garden, you feed their brains in a way that sustains.
How do you get started? Hit up a few neighborhood yard sales before the summer comes to an end to acquire wooden chairs, a table, and even old shelving units to create an outdoor library for their workbooks. Repurpose old tarps, sails and other coverings to provide shelter on rainy afternoons, and hang patio lights for added comfort.
Use the Garden as Inspiration for Class Projects
Research consistently shows that students are more likely to learn and reengage in a subject when it’s of interest to them. Knowing this, teachers today often ask students to come up with their own inspirations for class projects. They establish a general guideline, but want kids to relate the work to something they’re passionate about. Given that your child is already invested in gardening, encourage them to use it for class projects whenever possible. For example, if they are required to do a watercolor painting for art class, what better subject could there be than the colorful plants in their own garden? The garden is also an endless source of resource material for biology, chemistry, and earth science classes.
Bring the Backyard Garden to School
If your child has utilized your backyard garden as for a class project they will have planted the seed (so to speak) with their teachers about having an education-inspiring garden at home. This makes them (the teachers) ripe for the picking when it comes to introducing the same type of space at school. Children can suggest that their class start a school garden (here’s how) or even a small indoor one for the classroom. Teachers will certainly be impressed by their initiative! If your child’s teachers are interested in starting or suppoting a learning garden at their school, have them get in touch with the Plant a Seed & See What Grows Foundation. We can chat with them about the Plant a Seed, Read! and Seeds of Inspiration programs as well as the funding we have available to support school garden projects.