Check out our Caring Kids family volunteer program in action! This past Saturday, a group of families came together to help plant string beans and parsley at the Olympia Kiwanis Club's Westside Garden. Kids and their parents were happy to be a small part in helping grow over 20,000 pounds of food that is donated to the Thurston County Food Bank each year. Plus! Kids also got to meet some of the farm animals! A huge thank you to Mackenzie at the Thurston County Food Bank for organizing our group volunteer day, and also Susanna Stratton for introducing our Caring Kids to their chickens and sheep!
Why this project was great for early learning:
Gardening is a wonderful opportunity for children to play, learn, and grow -- and here's how:
- Fine Motor Skills: Gardening helps develop fine motor skills. Things like scooping dirt, placing seeds, and pouring water help develop fine motor control and strength. These activities help move your young child toward other academic skills such as writing and cutting skills.
- Sensory Activity: Having a hands-on experience in the garden helps children learn about the world around them through touching, feeling, comparing, and observing. For example, they touch and feel the dirt, see the many different colors of plants, hear wind rustle in the leaves, or smell the sweet smells of fruit.
- Promote a healthy body: When children plant fruits and vegetables in their garden, they are often interested in trying the foods that they help grow. Gardening can encourage kids to eat healthy and a balanced diet.
- Social emotional developmental learning: Your child will develop compassion on how things grow and caring for plants. Your child will also be developing relationships with other you and other people in your group as you work together to plant the garden beds.
Pairing volunteering with a children's book:
To introduce the volunteer activity and how it’s important to do simple things to make the world a better place, try reading this book recommended by our Raising A Reader early literacy program: "Things I can do to help my world" by Melanie Walsh. This book is from our STEM collection and brings a fun introduction to science to your child while also helping to improve the world we live in. So grab this book at your local Timberland Regional Library and snuggle up with while reading.
This book is also great because books about science in early childhood introduce young children to what scientists do, expose children to a variety of science fields, and have accurate facts about animals and their environments. You can also help your child think like a scientist, by using these question frames when sharing the book:
-What is happening on this page?
-What do you notice about ______?
-What do you think will happen if _____?
If you would like to volunteer as a family, please check out our upcoming Caring Kids volunteer projects: http://www.ccacwa.org/caring-kids