Kids’ Read-Aloud: Dandelion Magic

So many grownups think dandelions are weeds. They mow them down, spray them, and gripe about them all spring.

But did you know dandelions can actually be…MAGIC?? Dandelions are the first food honeybees eat each year. And because they have a taproot, dandelions loosen hard soil and bring deep-down nutrients, like calcium, to the soil surface for other plants to use. Dandelions have tons of health benefits for you, too!

Join our Youth Garden Instructor, Meg Groves, as she reads Dandelion Magic by Darren Ferrell. Dandelion Magic is an interactive story about a little boy named Jonah, one magical dandelion, and a wish that gets a little out of hand.

Jonah’s Nana tells him that there is a very special dandelion that grows once a year. If you find the magical dandelion, make a wish, and blow its seeds, your wish will come true! Nana found it once herself, so she knows all about it.

Jonah finds the magical dandelion, and he wishes to become a pirate! But being a pirate comes with LOTS of unexpected challenges. Just when he finds treasure, sea monsters appear everywhere. Jonah needs your help to scare them off and get back home.

How can you help? Roaring, making faces, and blowing raspberries! This interactive story will work those dandelion-blowing muscles, even if they’re not blooming where you are right now.

When you blow the dandelion seeds off of the stem, the wind takes the seeds far and wide. If the seeds land in a place where it’s good to grow, they’ll grow into more dandelion flowers! More dandelions will feed even more bees and improve more soil.

With so many reasons to love dandelions, let’s stop all this “weeds” business. Pick a dandelion, make a wish, and send the seeds out on your own breath! Maybe you’ll make a little magic 🌬️

This article contains links to a product that we are a referral partner for. If you click and take action, Grow Your Own Vegetables LLC may be compensated. We only recommend products that we love and that we know can be helpful to you as a gardener.

Do you have a favorite ‘Garden Story’? Comment below.

3 Vegetable Plants for Busy Gardeners

We know that there are lots of busy gardeners out there. You’re trying to get fresh food on the table, but you have all these other priorities as well. There’s always lots going on.

What’s the easiest thing to grow when you’re busy? In this video, Stacey shares three crops she likes to grow and why she grows them together.

Grow greens with ease and enjoy fresh food even when you are busy!

We love to hear from you! Share your busy gardener tips below!

Kid’s Read-Aloud: The Enormous Carrot

The Enormous Carrot is a story about two gardeners who accidentally grow a carrot SO BIG they can’t pull it out of the ground themselves. They ask friends and neighbors to help. And by working together, the team finally harvests the enormous carrot! All of the friends celebrate their harvest by eating the enormous carrot together at a picnic.

The Enormous Carrot shows us the importance of working together, especially in the garden. The story will also help cultivate kids’ curiosity about how their food grows. It might even inspire them to grow their own enormous carrot!

Meghan Groves is a teacher, gardener, and mom. She is creating a brand new Grow Your Own Vegetables Micro Course to teach the little ones in your life about plants and how they grow!

As a reading specialist, Meg loves using books as a foundation for learning new ideas and new skills.

Spark Garden Excitement in Kids with Reading

All you need to explore gardening with children is a garden. Right? Generally, this is true. However, if we want children to develop sustained curiosity about the natural world, we need to present them with digestible, age-appropriate topics. Our new course, Sprouts: A Child’s Garden Adventure, will do just that. You can explore outside and inspire curiosity with the resources listed below. 

Books are an excellent way to set a purpose or entice a child to look closer at the world around them. I especially love the book Up and Down in the Garden by Kate Messner. She explores the many things happening above and inside the soil. Her story highlights the different animals, insects, and plants just outside your door all season long. She also has a companion book entitled Over and Under the Snow that explores the hidden animal world during a snow-covered winter. I recommend reading these two books together.

For the youngest gardeners, Lois Ehlert’s books are bright with simple illustrations and quickly become favorites. Her books contain a lot of labeling, which can help deepen your conversations about gardening. Growing Vegetable Soup illustrates the progression from growing food to eating it. It would be a fantastic read for any child unfamiliar with where food comes from or who is interested in cooking. There is also a recipe at the end of the book. Lois Ehlert has written another book called Planting a Rainbow about different kinds of flowers and how they grow. If your child enjoys Growing Vegetable Soup, they are sure to love this book as well.
A Seed is Sleepy, A Nest is Noisy Book CoversDianna Hutts Aston creates wonderful books about the natural world. I suggest A Seed is Sleepy, and follow it up with A Nest in Noisy. The main text will engage your child, but she also includes more in-depth information in asides on each page. She describes and labels different kinds of seeds and plants. The illustrations are captivating and reminiscent of traditional botanical drawings. This book will reach readers on many levels.
A Seed is Sleepy, A Nest is Noisy Book Covers
A Seed is Sleepy, A Nest is Noisy Book Covers
The next two books take you on the journey of a plant’s life cycle. Eric Carle’s The Tiny Seed is enlivened by his acclaimed illustrations and tells the story of how one very tiny seed becomes a very big flower. This engaging fiction tale has many realistic elements that will reinforce the reader’s understanding of a plant’s life cycle. Pumpkin Jack by Will Hubbell is a great book for October or November, when you may have your own pumpkin lying around the house. This book follows the journey of jack-o-lanterns through decomposition into sprouting new pumpkins. It is an excellent book to set the scene for your own pumpkin rotting experiment.
Check out Kelly’s Classroom Online blog for more information. I have conducted this experiment a few times in my classroom, and it’s fascinating to watch the pumpkin decompose up close.
This battery-operated microscope is one of my favorite classroom purchases. You can take it on nature walks and immediately look at plants up close. It has a 60-120x magnification, and it is incredibly easy to use. It has also proven to be quite hardy.
Choosing one aspect of the natural world to focus on at a time is a great place to start. These books can help focus your intentions and engage the children in your life. Thank you for taking the time to inspire the young learners in your life. Happy Learning!
This email contains links to a product that we are a referral partner for. If you click and take action, Grow Your Own Vegetables LLC may be compensated. We only recommend products that we love and that we know can be helpful to you as a gardener.

Gardening with Kids, Guest Presentation by Amy Landers

Children have a way with bringing a new level of wonderment and fascination to a garden.We invite you to unleash your inner child and experience your garden all over again. Take a pause on the garden to-do list to experience the awe that every facet of your garden brings.

Below is a presentation we are bringing back from our archives from a few years ago with Amy Landers, “5 Hacks to Garden with Kids WITHOUT Crushing Plants, Complaining & Chaos.”

Inside this presentation, Amy shares five ways to enjoy the garden together. She shares how to successfully garden with kid of all ages. 😁👨‍🌾