Author: seattleseed

The blossoming health and academic benefits of school gardens

By Carina Storrs, Special to CNN (CNN) Many of the kids who go to John J. Pershing Elementary School in Dallas do not spend much time outdoors. They live in what some would describe as unsafe neighborhoods and their parents often do not let them go […]

The Garden as a Classroom

I love gardening and gardens and have wanted to share that joy with my kids from the beginning.

The Garden Classroom Book by Cathy James

When Cathy James of NurtureStore first wrote an eBook on gardening with kids a couple of years ago, I liked it so much that I introduced her to my publisher.

Now there’s a wonderful physical book that I can hold in my hands and flip through for ideas and inspiration and I like it even more. (Plus it’s been updated and added to!)

It’s called The Garden Classroom :: Hands on Activities in Math, Science, Literacy & Art.

Disclaimer :: I received a free review copy of this book from the publisher and am participating in the book tour; all opinions expressed are my own.

While classroom is in the title, and it would certainly be perfect for any school, the gardening information and the activities are perfect for families and backyards, too.

The book is about gardening and all that you can learn from gardens, plants, and the cycles of nature. As it says on the cover, it is filled with “creative ways to use the garden to inspire learning.”



The Garden Classroom is not just about how to plant seeds and grow things, but also includes chapters on ::

The Garden Classroom - Play and ImaginationSave

Play and Imagination

(with ideas on setting up an outdoor play space, building forts, outdoor pretend play, fairy gardens, small world play, sensory exploration, and more)

Reading and Writing

(including keeping a garden journal, an outdoor chalkboard, making a nature treasure bag, story stones, and a fairy mailbox)

Science and Math

(math games in the garden, a nature investigation table, experiments with seeds, using magnifying glasses in the garden, and creating wildlife havens)

Arts and Crafts

(nature printing, making natural plant dyes, cement tile art, garden bunting, leaf collages and suncatchers, land art ideas and more)

Garden recipes

(soup, pesto, edible flowers, using herbs, etc)

There is so much in the way of good information and activities in this book!

Making Clay Leaf Impressions

We were inspired by the clay leaf impressions activity to make nature prints with air dry clay.

This was such a lovely activity to do with the kids and the detail captured was incredible. Plus the air dry clay was soft and easy to work with.

Update :: We’ve since made many more clay leaf prints (and pendants) and I wrote a whole blog post about the process.

There are so many other wonderful nature and garden activities in this book that I want to try!

I highly recommend The Garden Classroom for families and schools. It could be used equally well in classrooms (whether you have a school garden or not) and in your own backyard no matter the size.

The Garden Classroom Book by Cathy James

The Garden Classroom is available at your local independent bookstore and online at Amazon, Roost Books, Barnes & Noble, and Powell’s Books.

Buy a copy for yourself or your classroom. Or buy a copy as a gift for your child’s teacher. However you do it, you’ll really be doing it for your kids and for the next generation.

And now let’s all get outside in the garden already!