If the daffodils, cherry blossoms, and tulips sprouting everywhere didn’t convince you, then last weeks’ beautiful warm weather must have shown that spring is officially here. And what’s a better way to spend spring outside than gardening? I may only have a balcony with container planters instead of a yard with a garden, but I’m still itching to plant tomatoes, carrots, and green beans. While it may still be a bit early for planting vegetables, it’s not too early to start preparing your garden—and your little gardener—for what’s to come.

Gardening with kids can be a wonderful learning experience and great bonding time. Kids may get a free pass to play in the dirt and look for worms, but you can also teach them the importance and makeup of good soil or compost, talk about seeds and watch them grow together, and even show kids the differences between weeds and the flowers or vegetables you actually want in your garden. Horticulture is a science, so turn gardening with your kids into a STEM learning activity.

Although right now you may only be weeding your garden or gathering compost in preparation, the following books can get your kids excited to help or jump start the learning process.

And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano

A boy and his dog decide they’re tired of the brown winter. They plant some seeds and wait for spring to come. This book can both build anticipation and teach patience.

A Backyard Vegetable Garden for Kids by Amie Jane Leavitt

This nonfiction book introduces the concept of gardening, types of gardens, and offers step-by-step instructions for how to plan, design, and harvest your garden.

Secrets of the Garden: Food Chains and the Food Web in Our Backyard by Kathleen Zoehfeld

A family of four plants a vegetable garden each spring in this nonfiction tale. Accessible science concepts are presented in sidebars on each page, so this book is both educational and entertaining.

Lola Plants a Garden by Anna McQuinn

Lola reads a poetry book on gardening and decides to plant her own. With the help of her mother, she buys seeds and plants them in rows…now she just has to wait.

How Does My Garden Grow by Gerda Muller

In this gardening story, Sophie learns from her grandfather how to plant and care for a garden through each season.

It’s Our Garden: From Seeds to Harvest in a School Garden by George Ancona

In this nonfiction story, read how kids at a Santé Fe, New Mexico school started a community garden, with families and neighbors helping out on the weekends. Get ideas for your own garden or simply celebrate how gardening can bring people together.

Growing a Garden by Mari Schuh

Simple text and colorful photographs describe the very basics of gardening.

Water, Weed, and Wait by Edith Hope Fine

A teacher challenges her students to turn a patch of land into a garden. Before they know it, outside community members lend a hand to create a beautiful garden full of delicious vegetables. Back matter includes ideas for creating gardens of your own.

Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt by Kate Messner

Introduce kids to what plants and creatures can be found up in a garden and underground in the dirt with this lyrical tale.

And there’s so much more. Happy gardening!

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