Our friends at the Garden School Foundation – a nonprofit that provides activities at eight L.A. elementary school gardens to connect kids with lessons about caring for their bodies, communities and the Earth – are offering these great activities to help you connect your own children with the natural world while you’re all at home.
From the “Seed to Table” curriculum, here are two kid-approved, pantry-friendly recipes:
Raw Apple Crisp
Makes six quarter-cup servings
4 Honeycrisp apples, cored and chopped
¼ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
¼ cup pitted dates
¼ cup dried cherries
¼ cup raisins
¾ cup pecan halves
¾ cup hazelnuts
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon ground ginger
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Put the apples in a large bowl or baking dish. Squeeze the orange juice over the apples, toss until the fruit is coated and smooth over the top. Roughly chop the pecans, hazelnuts, raisins and dried cherries. (An adult should help with or supervise this.) Add the spices and salt to the nut mixture. Spoon the nut mixture over the apple mixture and serve.
Herbed Rice Salad
Makes six ½-cup servings
3 cups cooked brown rice
¼ dried fruit (currants, cranberries, raisins)
1/8 cup shaved almonds
¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
A sprinkling of fresh herbs
A squeeze of lime or lemon
In a bowl, combine the rice, fruit, nuts and cheese and mix. In a separate bowl, combine the olive oil, herbs and lime or lemon and mix. Add the oil mixture to rice mixture and stir, making sure the rice is evenly coated. Serve.
And here are two fun and easy activities to help keep you and yours in discovery mode.
Make Camouflage Masks
Ask your child if they have ever heard the term camouflage. What does it mean? How is camouflage different from hiding? How might camouflage help an animal to survive? How might camouflage help predators? How might it help prey?
If necessary, explain that camouflage is a type of adaptation. Many animals have colors or markings on their bodies that enable them to blend into their surroundings. Can your child think of any examples of animals with camouflage?
Cut paper plates in half and cut out two eyeholes in each half. In your backyard or nearby nature trail or park, gather natural materials such as leaves, twigs or flowers. Glue a popsicle stick to the paper plate, and then have your child glue on the garden materials. When the masks are finished, play a game of hide-and-seek outside.
Create a Garden-Themed ABC Booklet
Write the following on chart paper: A is for ____________ B is for ____________ C is for ____________ (and so on through the letter Z).
Ask your child to name garden words that begin with A, B, C, and so on, filling in the blanks on the chart. Words might include garden plants or animals, garden jobs, or needs of living things in the garden. Continue until you have completed all the letters. (You could do this over several days.)
When you take walks outdoors or are in your yard, help your child look for garden words beginning with each letter or sound.
Check out GSF friend Cheryl Himmelstein’s new crafting Insta featuring creative at-home activities.
Ask a GSF Garden Educator! Got a burning question about your own garden? Ask a Garden School Foundation Master Gardener at firstname.lastname@example.org, and you’ll receive an answer!