Healthy Sprouts Highlight #1: Children's Gardens

One of the most popular and effective parts of the Healthy Sprouts program is gardening with children. This year, a total of eight child care centers and 28 in-home child care providers planted and tended gardens with the children in their care through the Healthy Sprouts program. Children as young as one year old helped plant seeds, water, and harvest fruits and vegetables in their own child care setting. Cherry tomatoes are the overall favorite, but children also grew peas, green beans, watermelon, lettuce, collard greens, peppers and more! One of my favorite moments of the year was when I returned to a child care provider’s home after planting seeds with the children a few weeks earlier. We walked the children over to the container gardens that had sprouted lettuce leaves, and one toddler exclaimed, “They grow!” A happy dance commenced. Later, that same child care provider told me, “The kids and I ate our first home-grown salad today! Everyone was curious and tried each item: lettuce, spinach, radish. Success, yes!” It is so inspiring to watch the children learn about each step of growing their own food. Even more exciting is when they eat the fruits (or veggies) of their labor. When we provide these hands-on experiences for children in their earliest years, they are set up to be healthy eaters for life. Gardening with children may seem like a novel idea at first glance, but as nutrition effects behavior, mental health and academic outcomes, engaging children in healthy eating is one of the most important services we can provide.

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Carrot harvest!

Carrot harvest! by Healthy Sprouts

Planting the garden together

Planting the garden together by Healthy Sprouts

Tagged: food, gardens, kids, nutrition, health


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