April Digging

April 10, 2017

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April is National Garden Month. Don’t miss the April 12th WOWS Newsletter, in which we share a lesson about cucurbits! At home, school, or during a summer program, gardening is a great way to get kids interested in and learn more about fruits and vegetables. Through gardening, you can apply nutrition lessons and apply math, science, writing and other concepts.

Consider growing a “theme” garden such as:

  • A “pizza” garden with green pepper, onion, tomato, basil and oregano.
  • A “salad” garden with tomato, cucumber, lettuce and carrots.
  • A “salsa” garden with tomato, cilantro, garlic and peppers.
  • A “snack” garden with broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini and cucumbers.

If it isn’t feasible to grow vegetables (and we hope you can at least grow several in a container), visit a farmer’s market and gather vegetables to fit your theme!

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As kids grow fruits & veggies themselves, they learn about the healthy benefits of eating them: rich in nutrients and fiber, satisfying and fill you up!

HEAR: Help kids hear the message that veggies are satisfying and fill you up!
SEE: Let them see the fiber and water content in veggies.
DO: Let them do with the opportunity to grow zucchini plants.

Grow Healthy Summer Zucchini
Ahead of Time: Purchase several 16 inch wide plastic pots, potting soil and zucchini seeds

  1. Bring a picture or real example of a zucchini to show the group. Ask how many kids have eaten zucchini in the last month? Mention that zucchini offers fiber and water that helps fill you up when eating, and plenty of nutrients to keep you healthy!
  2. Share some fun zucchini trivia: One medium-sized zucchini has more potassium than a banana and only 25 calories! The world’s largest zucchini on record was 69 1/2 inches long, and weighed 65 lbs
  3. Share with the kids that they will be helping to plant, grow and harvest zucchini. If you like, let kids view a video about growing zucchini plants in containers (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cp8Hnall0aU)
  4. Organize kids into groups based on the number of pots available. Provide soil and let them plant their zucchini seeds. Water and set outside in a protected area to grow.

Optional Activities:

  • Writing Skills: Have kids keep a journal about their plant’s growth progress.
  • Math Skills: Chart growth on a graph.
  • Tasting: Offer raw zucchini sticks as a snack.
  • Food Preparation: Have kids prepare a zucchini recipe with their harvested zucchini, like the recipe in the video above.

“A garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust.” — Gertrude Jekyll

Kids take interest in eating fruits & veggies when they learn about the different plant parts and their purpose. Encourage iStock_000012951071XSmallkids to eat Fruits & Veggies – Every Day the Tasty Way with the activity below!

Plant Anatomy and Edible Plant Parts (Adapted from the USDA Dig In! curriculum, 5-6 grades)

  • Bring a variety of produce examples to class like carrots, lettuce, celery, broccoli, zucchini and peas. Identify each plant part (roots, leaves, flowers, stems, fruits, seeds) and show what parts we eat.
  • Explain that each part is designed to support an important function for the plant to live.
    roots – underground support for the plant, collects water and food
    leaves – make food for the plant from sunlight (photosynthesis)
    stems – above ground support and provides vessels to move water and nutrients through the plant
    flowers – attract pollinators and matures into fruit
    fruits – protect and hold the seeds
    seeds – contain all the information needed for plant life
  • Write the different plant parts on the board. Ask kids to think of other fruits & veggies and to tell which part of the plant is eaten and where to list it on the board.
  • Cut-up various produce samples and let kids taste the different plant parts.

This is a HEAR-SEE-DO activity:

Help kids hear the message about the interesting and tasty parts of edible plants.

Let them see examples of edible plant parts.

Let them do by identifying additional plant part examples and tasting samples.

Want more plant part lessons? Try these!

“Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.” — Julia Child

Grow a Healthy Summer

April 30, 2015

iStock_000009330809XSmallUsing the HKC signature HEAR-SEE-DO model, join us as we share ideas and garden activities so you can help kids grow a healthy summer! Get started with this week’s WOWS newsletter and the following additional online resources:

Grow It, Try It, Like It
http://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/grow-it-try-it-it

Dig In! 5th-6th grade
http://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/dig-standards-based-nutrition-education-ground

Where your food comes from –
http://urbanext.illinois.edu/food/siteindex.cfm

Great Garden Detective 3rd-4th Grade http://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/great-garden-detective

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