Category Archives: Children’s Gardens

Five Nature Activities to Do With Children in Winter

Want to share your love for nature and plants with children this winter? Here are five activities to spark curiosity, teach and amuse.


Adopt an insect-eating plant. The Venus Flytrap (Dionaea muscipula) is fascinating to watch as it traps spiders and insects for its meals. This animation explains the process.


Start a worm farm. It’s a fun way to learn about the composting process and add to the garden later in the year. All that’s needed is a plastic lined or wood box with a lid, vegetable scraps, shredded newspaper and a few red wriggler worms. Kept moist and cool, the worms will get to work making valuable compost.  Find full instructions here.

FairyGardenPeekInside-e1403316493327-2Plant a terrarium or fairy garden. Assemble a collection of small plants in an open-topped container or create an imaginative, kid-friendly scene with structures and characters – perhaps a park for superheroes or dinosaurs! Children love to play in the dirt, so this makes for great hands-on learning of planting basics. Stick to easy to grow, petite plants and add a bottom layer of pebbles if using containers without drainage holes. pineconebirdfeeder-1

Feed the birds. Gather some pine cones and tie a string to the top of each, slather with peanut butter, then roll in bird seed. Hang in a nearby tree and watch the feast begin.


Sprout an avocado pit. Stick the perimeter of an avocado seed with toothpicks and suspend it, rounded side down in a glass of water. Watch for roots followed by a green shoot. Avocado is a fast growing plant and will soon need to be transplanted into soil.

What nature activities do you do with children?

Images:  Bing Images (Royalty Free)

Written by: Linda McDonnell, a Denver County Master Gardener




Slow Food Helps Grow Kids

An important part of the children’s garden was helping kids connect to nature by learning about the colors and magic of fruit. Other beds were filled with all the plants needed to make salsa, a nutrient scavenger hunt and salad greens as an equation for success.

There was a lot to love about the Slow Food Nations festival in downtown Denver over the weekend.

The celebration of local, organic and sustainable foods included free food tastings offered by Slow Food groups from around the world, educational programming and vendors selling to the thousands of foodies that attended the event.

But one of my favorite displays was the children’s garden, located on the sidewalk just north of the Taste Marketplace.

In this series of raised bed gardens, kids had the chance to get their hands dirty by exploring gardens filled with fruits, vegetables, herbs, grains, and flowers.

One of the premier gardens included a sample of the modular Learning Gardens, created by The Kitchen Community. The Kitchen Community’s mission is “Community through Food” and it accomplishes that goal by building outdoor classrooms on school playgrounds around the country, including Denver and Fort Collins. There are more than 400 to date.

The customizable gardens are designed to fit into each school’s landscape and become part of the educational process. As a teaching tool, the gardens help students learn about growing and eating nutritious foods and gaining healthy habits to hopefully last a lifetime.

A bowl of dried corn and a grinder were placed next to a bed of corn plants. Kids were encouraged to try their hand at turning corn into a grain for cooking.










The Low Tunnel garden bed introduced kids to the the concept of helping plants grow before and after summer. Books on year-round gardening surrounded the bed as resources for kids and their parents.



In addition to all the herbs, fruits, and vegetables, there were beds of flowers to promote planting for pollinators. A sensory garden helped kids see, smell and feel the benefits of plants.










By Jodi Torpey
A Denver Master Gardener