Caring Kids will be working in the Westside Garden with the Kiwanis Club! Each year approximately 30,000 pounds of food is grown from three gardens that the Kiwanis Club manages and the food is donated to the Thurston County Food Bank. In May, Caring Kids will be a part of making that happen – planting string beans and harvesting produce! All tools will be provided (however, there are no small gloves available) and on site there will be water, snacks, and there are also bathrooms.
What to expect:
We will be working outside in a field! There will be a variety of gardening jobs available; working and digging in the dirt. While the weather forecast has been changing by the day, expect a chance of showers, cloudy skies and temperature in the 60’s. Please bring rain gear and layered clothing. A change of clothes for the kids is also recommended as we will probably get a little dirty! Sunscreen and a hat are also recommended.
Once we are done working in the garden, we will clean up and eat a healthy garden snack while we are reading a book together (see the book recommendation below).
Talk to your kids prior to the project:
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 _____?
Why is gardening great for early learning?
Gardening is a wonderful opportunity for children to play, learn, and grow. Check out some of the ways gardening is great for early learning:
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.