If you’re familiar with the term, you probably know that Victory Gardens were Americans’ response to loss, during and after both World Wars. With a diminished domestic food supply and a slump in our war-weary economy, the government encouraged families to plant and harvest their own food – for themselves and the greater good.
Home gardening became a patriotic act of determination and faith to help us recover from a staggering era that affected the entire global population. Sound familiar?
So, here’s a question. Do your kids know what a Victory Garden is? This might be the perfect time for a fun project with your kids that can create a sense of balance during these historically stressful times. It can also serve as a valuable history lesson about how we can rise up and thrive when times are hard.
Planning for a Children’s Victory Garden
Many of our children are home-schooling. How can we enrich their education? Explain the benefits of a Victory Garden as they plant, nurture and harvest their own food. This is truly a hands-on history lesson! Teach your kids that gardening is one thing we can do that improves everything. It helps the planet, feeds us in many ways, encourages pollinators and gives us a true sense of hope. Children who plant and tend their own gardens will watch seedlings sprout, plants develop and vegetables grow and ripen.
Why not help them start a lifelong love for the magic of gardening while we navigate this challenging time in history? Tell them about the Victory Garden’s history, perhaps relating it to grandparents and great grandparents. This is part of our heritage, regardless of where our ancestors are from.
Early spring is the perfect time to get started too! To start home Victory Garden learning activities for kids, show them the common parts of a plant. It’s fun to draw a big picture with help from the young ones.
Hands-On Learning Activities for Kids
- Draw a horizontal line that represents the ground and soil. Draw a chunky seed underneath.
- Have them draw squiggly roots from the seed: Roots take up food from the soil.
- Draw a stem that rises above the ground: The stem brings up water and food from the soil.
- Now draw some leaves and a sun. Leaves absorb sunlight to make oxygen for us!
- Draw flowers. Flowers attract pollinators, create fruit and make more plants like themselves.
When they’re familiar with plant parts, it’s time to dig into the nitty gritty. Order seeds online or save some from fruits and vegetables you already have. Help your young students start some vegetable seeds in small pots indoors. Potting soil works best. It’s fascinating for them to watch for little sprouts that shoot up and grow strong. You can use peat pots, egg cartons (or eggshells), or even recyclable yogurt or pudding containers. Make sure they have drainage holes – talk to your kids about how water needs to drain through the soil and out from the bottom of the pot, so that while roots are growing, they won’t have to swim in wet, soggy soil.
When seedlings have sprouted and grown a couple inches, it’s time to prepare the garden or outdoor pots. This can be a great family adventure. Let your kids help you decide where each kind of plant should go, keeping in mind that some plants, like pumpkins, tomatoes and cucumbers will need more space than others.
A home Victory Garden project is healthy fun for every family member. Hopefully the idea will continue to take root in our classrooms. In our grandparents’ time, the federal government actually had an agency for supporting school gardening. Their motto was “A garden for every child, every child in a garden.” Let’s revive this movement today. It’s still relevant. Gardening can bring our families back to balance, happiness, health and family unity.