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by Kristin Mullen, Children’s Garden Educator, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Children's Garden volunteers "digging in" with the summer reading participants.

Children’s Garden volunteers “digging in” with the summer reading participants.

At the Richmond Public Library “Dig into Reading” Summer Reading Finale this weekend, the Children’s Garden tent had a recipe for success.  Start with inspiration from nature-based children’s books. Take one part water. Add two parts shredded paper (recycled, of course). Invite about 80 enthusiastic children to squish it all together in to a mushy pulp. Harvest dill seeds. Roll pulp and seeds together. Voilà– a dill seed ball that will grow into a tasty treat for both people AND swallowtail caterpillars!

Squishing together paper pulp for the dill seed balls. She can't help but smile!

Squishing together paper pulp for the dill seed balls. She can’t help but smile!

Speaking of delicious, many of the younger children were particularly excited to help us “toss” together a veggie-filled carrot soup, just like Rabbit’s friends in the book Carrot Soup, by John Segal. It fit in perfectly with our “Let’s Move Garden” goals of encouraging families to make healthy food choices along with increasing physical activity.

After picking out the ingredients throwing them into the soup pot!

After choosing a vegetable, she winds up for a throw!

Toss it into the soup pot!

Toss it into the soup pot!

Last but not least, you might not have noticed that I incorporated science, reading, AND math into the title of this blog post. Sneaky, huh? Similarly, most children playing in the Children’s Garden or participating in an event like the Summer Reading Finale probably don’t realize that they’re building skills and knowledge that they’ll need to be successful in school this fall. So come visit the Children’s Garden, the Garden’s Library, (or your local library), kick back with a good book, and sneak in some learning this summer!

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2 Responses to “Gardening + Reading = FUN!”

  1. Krista says:

    We loved having Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden folks out with us making our Street Party especially fun (and also educational)! Check out the library’s website for more pictures of the Summer Reading Finale. http://www.richmondpubliclibrary.org.

  2. What an awesome approach to teaching children

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