By Robin Lundgren
Add a new element to your spring gardening by creating a pizza garden! Your whole family will enjoy this hands-on activity. Kids will especially love being able to grow ingredients for pizza right in their own backyard.
This fun, long-term activity gives kids experience with plotting, planting, taking care of something consistently and watching it grow. When the herbs and vegetables are ready, kids will love reaping the delicious rewards of a “garden fresh” pizza!
What you need….
-Paper and pencil
-Compass and ruler
-Small round baby pool or area of your yard to use for garden.
-Seeds or plants – (3 herbs and 3 vegetables) that you want for your pizza
What to do….
1. With your child, discuss what ingredients are used to make pizza, making a list on a piece of paper. From this list, help your child identify which ingredients grow in the ground, and then decide which ones can be planted in her garden.
2. Help him choose 3 herbs and 3 vegetables to plant in his pizza garden. Recommended herbs are parsley, basil and oregano. Recommended vegetables might include tomatoes, peppers and onions
3. Help your child use a compass to draw a large circle on a piece of paper. Instruct her to divide the circle into 6 equal wedges or “pizza slices” using a ruler.
4. Ask your child to write what herb or vegetable to plant in each “pizza slice.” Encourage him to imagine how the garden will look when the herbs and veggies start to grow and to create a design considering the colors and heights of the planted items.
5. Have your child pour potting soil into a round baby pool (with holes drilled in the bottom for drainage), or help him to dig up a circular area of earth in your yard that will be designated for his garden.
6. Using stakes and string assist your child in dividing her garden into 6 fairly equal pizza slices.
7. Using the map your child made, have him plant his seeds or plants in the appropriate wedges. Once planting is complete, have him water his garden.
8. Encourage your child to water and tend to her garden each day. Once plants start to grow, he might even consider keeping a garden journal to chart the garden’s growth
9. When herbs and veggies appear, help your child pick the ingredients to make a fresh, homemade pizza!
Gardening projects like this draw on many math and science skills, giving your child an opportunity to use these skills in a practical and rewarding application. Geometry, fractions, estimating and division skills are utilized when plotting out the garden map. Gardening also makes science come to life by giving kids a chance to see a seed turn to plant. As well, it opens opportunities to discuss how water and sunlight work together to help plants grow. By keeping a garden journal, kids practice their observation skills and have a wonderful record of their summer project.
This monthly family activity series, “Hands-on-Kids!” is brought to you by a partnership between the Children’s Science Center (CSC) and FAMILY Magazine. CSC is committed to building a place where children can grow in their love of learning that will carry them into adulthood. We invite you to visit the CSC website, www.TheChildrensScienceCenter.org, where you and your children can “Explore, Create, Inspire.” Robin Lundgren, a CSC volunteer, is a freelance writer and Vice President of Aquarian Entertainment.
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