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~*~The Product ~ 'The Secret Garden'!~*~
This is a hardcover spiral bound forty-eight page book. The activity book is published by Dorling Kindersley Publishers Ltd; an illustrated 2008 edition. The book is a lovely hand able size for little hands with dimensions of '2.3 x 19.7 x 23.3 cm'. The book is written by Angela Wilkes, 'an award-winning writer and editor renowned for lively, engaging books children read over and over again. She excels in presenting information in an original and straightforward way - a gift that has been recognized by children and parents alike across the world. Her long list of titles spans a diverse range of topics and includes The Children's Quick and Easy Cookbook, The Children's Step-by-Step Cookbook, My First Word Book, Simple Science, The Big Book of Dinosaurs, and French for Beginners.' http://www.amazon.co.uk/Angela-Wilkes
On page two and three of the book note the contents: 'Gardening by pictures page four, Garden kit page six, Seed search page eight, Planting seeds page 10, Salad garden page twelve, Bulbs page fourteen, Spring flowers page sixteen, Hanging baskets page twenty, Desert Garden page twenty-two, Desert in miniature page twenty-four, Strawberry feast page twenty-six, From flower to fruit page twenty-eight, Pip planting page thirty, New plants from old page thirty-two, From cutting to plants page thirty-four, Vegetables in Pots page thirty-six, Vegetables galore page thirty-eight, Window gardening page forty, Garden in bloom page forty- two, Herb feast page forty-four, Mini knot garden page forty-six, And finally, Bushy tops page forty-eight.
Each content section is accompanied by the relevant pictures to inspire the youngest of keen gardener :~ )As noted on page four the Garden book shows 'how to grow flowers, herbs, fruit and vegetables' with 'step-by-step photographs' showing exactly what to do. Most of the content titles are supported with bright colourful images beneath that compliments the sections beautifully. Such as the 'Garden Kit' on page four, beneath this title is a pair of scissors, a bottle of liquid plant food, a watering can and a trowel.
~*~Usage Opinion and How This Book Inspired My Grand-Children's Imagination! ~ 'Garden Variety'!~*~
Within this portion of my review, I am noting down a few of our personal experiences in using this activity book as we put into practice some of the task within the book. I purchased this book for my grand-children because they love engaging in fun activities and I adore doing these with them :~) The book instantly got their attention with its bright green cover and easily legible writing. The pictures on the front were an instant giveaway to my youngest grand-son who is unable to read yet; with its pictures of a watering can, Trowel and colourful flowers, he knew this was a gardening book! I had received the book before the grand-children had arrived, so I had plenty of time to read through the advisory and suggestion notes. I prepared a written schedule that would be separate from the one I was going to help the tots write as a step-by-step guide to the process of measures needed before actual gardening could begin.
When the grand-tots arrived we gathered around the table looking through each page of the activity book, all excitedly discussing what they wanted to grow. But, this book teaches patience and I carefully explained by the help of the book that we would need much preparation to be ready for our gardening experience. After the tots had a good look through the book, I told them to find page six to look at the things we would need. My oldest grand-child got a lined piece of paper and a pen, whilst the next oldest read out the list, and the next tot helped by explaining what the picture showed. This book is excellent for even little ones that haven't mastered reading yet :~)
Each time the tots visited, they were so thrilled to start the next stage in our itinerary. So after the list of our 'garden kit' was complete, we readied ourselves to go to our local 99p store! They were so thrilled to locate the item I would read from the list, each child being given a separate tool to find, from garden twine to plant labels and compost. Anything that was not available in the shop was easily sorted by a visit to our local gardening centre. Visiting the 99p store cut the cost greatly! Of course, there were a few items added to the basket that was not on the list. Like choky bars, but I was told that gardening must be tiring work and these would help! :~)
We had to leave the following stage on our schedule for their next visit. Attempting to keep expense down and promote more fun, I decided to take the idea from page eight on seed searching as opposed to buying them. So when the grand-tots next arrived, we went out on local walks and visited keen gardening friends, one with an allotment! My eldest grand-child had carefully copied from pages eight and nine the seeds we were looking for. We managed to obtain most, such as sweet pea and sunflower seeds. As this was spring time, I set aside a table indoors for our task. Once the weather became warmer, the seedlings would be big and strong enough to plant outside.
On their next visit, I adorned the children with their craft aprons and 99p store gloves to protect their little hands. I placed a plastic table cover under the table that extended a couple of feet from the legs and also a plastic cover on top of the table. I placed the book on a book stand in the centre of the table, and encouraged each of the tots to gather from our shopping bags the sets of gardening equipment they needed. They simply looked at the text and pictures on page ten and eleven to know exactly what they needed. This task made them feel very confident and excited. Under the heading 'what to do', we began from the brief simplified paragraphs one to five filling the flower pots, planting the seeds, tying the bags over the pots and trays and finding a safe dark place to leave them. I tried to interfere as least as possible so the tots could get the most benefit out of their experience and only monitored, offering advice here and there.
From time to time I would check the seeds, and as soon as the shoots appeared, I had the tots move their own pots and trays to a different windowsill each and showed them how to lightly sprinkle the compost to keep it damp. The children love placing the free stickers that come with the book on the relevant pots to their plants. Later on in the year during the summer, we enjoyed preparing hanging baskets, of which they loved taking home to mummy, a constant reminder of the fun they enjoyed growing their very own flowers such as primulas and trailing ivy. We have managed to accomplish many fun tasks from this book but we have plentiful still to complete.
The children have each chosen the next thing they would like to do in the coming months of this year, such a 'desert in miniature' on page twenty four, for my eldest grand-son. He loves the look of some of the pictures of the plants such as the flaming Katy and the wart plant. My grand-daughter wants to try out the 'strawberry feast' section on page twenty-six. Whereas my youngest grand-son wants to do the 'window garden' section on page forty for mummy's kitchen window sill so that when she is doing the dishes, the flowers will make her happy! :~) I am going to follow the instructions for the 'herb feast' on page forty-four. Well, I find the book is as great for nannies that aren't very green fingered too! :~)
Summing up then, how do I personally feel my grand-children have benefited from this book? Well, I would like to firstly comment on how I benefited from the projects set in the book. Engaging in such a tremendously rewarding venture such as gardening by means of this wonderful book, has afforded me another wonderful way of bonding with my beautiful grand-children. We have had such fun, especially when I don't get things correct and they do! :~D This book shows how young and older ones can enjoy and share the pleasure of gardening. Instead of a using television as a 'babysitter', this manual shows how much fun this outdoor activity can be as well as a healthier hobby!
The grand-children adore the delight of getting messy too! As I mentioned above, they learned a valuable lesson concerning patience as some task in the book show that some flowers and vegetables take longer to grow. My grand-tots learned how to take responsibility, as the book revealed how necessary it is for the tots to take care of their seedlings etc., Furthermore, the tots could even appreciate and comprehend a little better on 'loss', such as when flowers die when the ending of the season for them occurs! Co-incidental to this, they learn about nurturing the seeds, flowers and so forth, to see what measures are needed to take care of flora so as to extend their life. The next stage in our gardening task will be vegetables, an excellent way of teaching young ones and helping them understand where our food comes from.
~*~Supplementary information on the importance of gardening for children ~ 'Flower Power'!~*~
'The National Foundation for Educational Research...Surveyed a selection of 1,300 school teachers and studied in-depth 10 schools belonging to the RHS Campaign for School Gardening, from a large urban London primary to small village school in Yorkshire, to discover that gardening in schools encourages children to: Become stronger, more active learners capable of thinking independently and adapting their skills and knowledge to new challenges at school and in future; Gain a more resilient, confident and responsible approach to life so they can achieve their goals and play a positive role in society; Learn vital jobs skills such as presentation skills, communication and team work, and fuel their entrepreneurial spirit; Embrace a healthier, more active lifestyle as an important tool for success at school and beyond; Develop the ability to work and communicate with people from all ages and backgrounds.
Gillian Pugh, Chair of the National Children's Bureau and The Cambridge Primary Review, says: "Not only does gardening provide opportunities for increasing scientific knowledge and understanding, and improving literacy, numeracy and oracy, but this report shows that it also improves pupils' confidence, resilience and self-esteem." http://www.rhs.org.uk/News/School-garden​ing-boosts-child-development
~*~Would I recommend? ~ Leading you 'Up The Garden Path'! :~)~*~
Absolutely. This is one of the best children's activity books I have purchased to date! The book is crammed with amazing fun task. Each assignment is simplified to the degree that even very young children can understand. The pictures are bright and instructive, displaying each step in a clear and concise manner. The binding for each page means that little ones will not lose their place in the book as the pages stay put. This book helps to encourage team work and bonding, as well as a host of vital educational needs.
This extraordinary book, First Garden activity Book, can be purchased from as little as £2 from Amazon! http://www.amazon.co.uk/First-Garden-Act​ivity-Book/dp/1405328630
Thank you for taking the time to read my review of this wonderful gardening book for children :~)