Gardens to Go kit teaches youth about all aspects of horticulture
Friday, March 26, 2021
On its surface, horticulture may seem like just some seeds, a little dirt or a few flower and vegetable plants, but thanks to Oklahoma State University Extension, youth across the state soon will have an opportunity to learn the science behind horticulture.
Gardens to Go is a kid-sized project that comes packaged in a handy lunchbox, designed for youth in first through fifth grades. Gardens to Go educates children about horticulture in general, as well as different plants and their uses, said Shelley Mitchell, OSU Extension assistant specialist, 4-H Youth Development.
“This is a great way to get kids interested in gardening and helping them understand where our food and fiber comes from. The educational lessons in the kit will teach them about plant anatomy and life processes,” Mitchell said. “While it is plant-based education, it goes beyond gardening.”
Kaitlyn Moss, 9, has a little gardening experience under her belt already, and she is excited about the Gardens to Go activities.
“I’ve done some gardening, and I think it’s fun because I get to spend some time close to nature,” Moss said. “I like helping my mom water the flowers in our yard, and I’ve helped grow cantaloupe and carrots.”
Some of Moss’ interest in horticulture may be inherited from her father, Justin Moss, who serves as head of OSU’s Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture. He’s excited to share the educational project with his daughter because it also is an opportunity to spend quality time together as a family doing fun activities at home.
“I want Kaitlyn to learn more about plants, horticulture and the fun of growing plants around the home and garden,” he said. “Gardens to Go is very hands-on and interactive and is something fun that we can do together.”
Mitchell said Gardens to Go also is a great way to create a personal classroom in nature during the pandemic.
“This project is an effort to do distance learning that’s more hands-on and fun, especially when some camps and schools are still operating virtually,” she said. “The activities in the kit are a lot of fun and a great way for families to spend time together. They’ll learn about plants, bugs, what grows in a rainforest and even the lifecycle of a butterfly.”
The kit is available for $25, plus $11 shipping, and comes with 18 educational lessons. There’s even a miniature greenhouse in which children can grow their own herbs. All materials needed for the activities are included with the exception of a few craft supplies such as crayons, glue and scissors.
Mitchell said the kits are available to 4-H groups, schoolteachers and the general public. There is no shipping fee if the kits are picked up in Stillwater.