What a wonderful summer we are having! The Youth Education team here at the Civic Garden Center is joyfully running summer gardening programs throughout Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. Our Summer Sprouts Camp take place on Monday at the Civic Garden Center from 1PM- 3PM, Tuesday at the Over the Rhine People’s Garden from 1PM- 3PM and Wednesday at the Rothenberg Rooftop Garden from 10AM- 12PM.
Each day at Summer Sprouts begins with a scavenger hunt, which allows campers to practice observational skills and teamwork. It also guides campers in taking a closer look at and appreciating our natural surroundings. We are always impressed by the wonderful ways in which our campers interact with and respect their surroundings. It’s always an honor to share in the excitement of finding spiderwebs, tracks, and edible plants.
Next, the plant part or garden theme of the week is discussed through guided conversation, garden observations and a story. The previous four weeks of camp have focused on soil and compost, seeds, roots, stems and this week we will focus on leaves. Campers and their adult chaperones then work together to follow the recipe of the week which incorporates the plant part or garden theme. The cooking component creates an opportunity for campers and their families to practice cooking, develop critical thinking skills about what they are eating and where it comes from, and enjoy each others company. So far, we have made salsas, sushi, sweet potato corn fritters and….When everyone is finished cooking, the group then takes a moment to eat together and enjoy their hard work!
Campers are then guided in an art activity and game. The art component again incorporates the theme of the week and the game is targeted at building connections with other campers and the natural environment. We have made prints from natural items, painted root reflections and are looking forward to leaf rubbings this week. Games have included everything from water balloon tosses to the guessing game “Who Am I?”.
In addition to our Summer Sprouts Camp, we have teamed with museums, daycares and libraries to provide gardening and outdoor focused experiences for campers from 3 to 12 years old. These programs are molded to the needs and interests of the partner we are working with and include components from Summer Sprouts programs when possible. The goal is always to support children in connecting with nature and each other!