Weekend Review & Giveaway: The Book of Gardening Projects for Kids by Whitney Cohen and John Fisher

We're in the thick of it. My counter is covered with produce, tomatoes hang heavy on the vine, and I await the onslaught of summer squash that I know will surely come. It is July in Iowa. Having overwhelmed myself in the past, we kept our gardening goals simple this year. We left a bed open where Silas can dig and pull any weed he wants and the other three have tomatoes and peppers; the things we use the most of and are worth the time to preserve. As we plan for the fall and next spring I find myself getting so excited about sharing my love of growing things with my little one. I have such fond memories of my childhood garden, I hope the same for Silas. The Book of Gardening Projects For Kids: 101 ways to get kids outside, dirty, and having fun (2012, Timber Press) by Whitney Cohen and John Fisher is literally jam-packed with creative and inspiring ideas of how to nurture a love for tending the earth and it has been incredibly helpful as I chart out our gardening future.

The authors are of California's Life Lab, a national leader in farm- and garden-based education that teaches people to care for themselves, each other, and the world. After 30 years of working with diverse kids of all ages and from all backgrounds, they have developed a kind, compassionate, and gentle method for encouraging our youth to get outside with us in our gardens. This includes mindful garden design and ways to make kid-friendly garden elements, strategies for attracting animals and beneficial insects, games and celebrations, garden-inspired art projects, cooking tips and recipes, food preservation and so much more.

The advice in this book is both practical and inspirational. A child-sized nest made of branches where little ones can pretend to be baby birds? Brilliant. A list of plants that provide good food for snacking on while working? So helpful. From selecting seeds to planting to harvesting to cooking, Cohen and Fisher have pearls of wisdom for including children in every step. They help us to take into consideration age, ability, and interest so that we don't overwhelm our kids or turn garden work into some sort of drudgery. The goal here is connection; between us and our kids and between them and the earth. Their approach to gardening has so many elements of fun that those of any age will find something that resonates.

Timber Press was kind enough to give me an extra copy of this book to give away. Just leave a comment on this post with your favorite gardening memory (if you have one!) to be entered in the random drawing to win. Comments will be closed on July 21 and a winner announced shortly thereafter.

And the winner is...

Annie
"This sounds like a wonderful book! My favorite gardening memory isn't one specific memory, but more of an on-going one. My mom loves to garden and my memories of playing in and around her gardens while she was working, or of going to one particular garden center that when I was young seemed magical - plants whose leaves closed up when they were touched, huge jade plants bigger than myself, a room full of dried flowers and herbs that smelled so very wonderful... Growing things, inside and out have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Thanks for the nudge to bring those memories to my mind today!"



Also, you should head over to Timber Press' website to enter their amazing give away, which is open until July 20. One winner will receive everything pictured to the right to help you start gardening with your little one:

A set of kids' garden tools from YeoMini (including gloves and everything pictured at right)

Sunblock and bug repellent from California Baby

Seed packs from Seed Savers Exchange (Titan and Taiyo sunflowers, and Ladybird nasturtiums)

A copy of The Book of Gardening Projects for Kids

My review copy was provided courtesy of Timber Press.


8 comments:

  1. My favorite gardening memory was from my first year gardening. I planted a zucchini plant and had no idea what would happen. I remember feeling ecstatic when the first baby zucchini's came out.

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  2. Thanks for the review Courtney! I never actually grew up with a garden in my home, but I remember going over to my grandnma's who would always have a garden... I would choose a big red tomato from the vine and eat it like an apple. It tasted like summer and it tasted delicious.

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  3. Nice! Mine favorite memories will always be my daughter picking tiny cherry and grape tomatoes from the garden and eating them all before we can even get into the house. A couple of nights ago my husband said they didn't eat salad in his house growing up and she indignantly said "Tomatoes! Cucumbers.... what did you eat Daddy?" I thought that was awesome!

    I think we'd love this book.

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  4. Ooh, how awesome! Fav garden memory is my Grandmother and her sprawling squash & melon plants. & watching her eat tomatoes with sugar & watermelon with salt. & of course mayo & tomatoes sandwiches! Yum! Thanks for the giveaway!

    Becca

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  5. Thanks for the great review. My favourite gardening memory is from two years ago, we had just finished working in the garden, and went inside to get cleaned up and start dinner. Reece was sitting on the counter and I asked him where tomatoes come from, he pointed to the backyard :) It was the most amazing moment to realize my little man will grow up knowing his food from seed to plate.

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  6. This sounds like a wonderful book! My favorite gardening memory isn't one specific memory, but more of an on-going one. My mom loves to garden and my memories of playing in and around her gardens while she was working, or of going to one particular garden center that when I was young seemed magical - plants whose leaves closed up when they were touched, huge jade plants bigger than myself, a room full of dried flowers and herbs that smelled so very wonderful... Growing things, inside and out have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. Thanks for the nudge to bring those memories to my mind today!

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  7. Great book! My favorite gardening memory is when my Dad was still alive. Every Saturday my two sister's and I would get up and work in the garden with my Dad, each of us taking a few rows to weed or pick. We would spend the morning working, laughing and just being together. My Dad has been gone for 15 years now, but I still think of him every time I work in the garden as he taught me everything I know about plants, I owe him a lot.

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  8. What a great book. My husband and I had our first (and last) garden together many years ago (before we moved to Lubbock) and I have so many memories of working together, though we didn't really end up producing very much.

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