Children’s Garden

José Carreiro Children’s Garden

The Children’s Garden, expanded in 2012, was developed as a place where children of all ages and abilities can get their hands in the dirt and learn where there food comes from through sustainable gardening. The main garden components below were included to engage children in discovering the natural world of gardening. The garden is a place for program attendees and Science Center visitors to enjoy. Inquire with our Education Director about a program in the garden or stop by with your family to say hi to the chickens or enjoy a picnic. If you’re interested in public garden programs or impromptu requests for garden help, see our newsletter or ‘like’ us on facebook.

Raised Cedar Beds-Gardening for All

Our raised beds are 15-18 inches tall and 3 feet wide and will be planted with vegetables, flowers and herbs. This height allows children in wheelchairs to participate in gardening activities and the short width allows the youngest gardeners to reach the center of the gardening space to dig, plant and harvest. These beds will be planted, cared for and harvested by the Science Center preschoolers, campers, program attendees, visitors, and volunteers, making it truly a community space.

Chickens in the Coop-More than Just Fluff and Feathers

The chickens of the Children’s Garden not only greet visitors with enthusiasm and help teach about birds, but are an important part of the garden system. Garden leftovers are fed to the chickens, and chickens are able to roam periodically to capture tasty insects which would otherwise attack the plants growing in the garden. In return, the droppings are composted and supply the garden with a rich nitrogen source that all plants benefit from. The farm fresh eggs are used in cooking projects at the Science Center and sold to the public through the Nature Gift Shop.

Native American Bed-Discover Garden Techniques from Centuries Ago

This nearly 200 square foot of gardening space will be the site of traditionally grown crops by the Native Americans who inhabited the South Shore in the early 1600’s. The Wampanoags planted corn, beans, and squash in such a way that each plant benefited from the garden design. This system is described as the “Three Sisters” and demonstrates early sustainable practices which were used to enrich the earth and reduce the need for resources such as water and pest control. The logs used for the bed edging were from the surrounding trees that were cut to prepare the site.

Garden Storiespreschool-teacher-child-garden-Peter Rabbit; the Troll’s Nose and Boot

One corner of the garden, anchored by a large blueberry bush, is an imaginary place where stories and characters come alive! Around it you’ll find a large tree trunk section that has come to be called the Troll’s Nose which rests at the heel of the Troll’s Boot plant bed. At the base of the Peter Rabbit wood carving, you’ll find out what storybook inspired the seasonal planting in the Troll’s Boot. A wonderful corner of the garden to discover hidden fairies, search for colorful flowers, and find miniature dwellings.

Old Tree Trunks and Rascally Squirrels are found in the Gathering Spaces

You may see a school, camp, or scout group gathering in the garden on the rustic log benches learning and preparing for what is in store for them in the garden that day. If the benches are empty, we encourage you to sit and take a break under the shade of the oak tree or perhaps share a picnic at the squirrel’s table while relaxing on the carved fish chair. The carvings were done by Chainsaw Artist Ross MacVicar of Plymouth, walk around the garden to discover a rabbit, toad, owl and more!

Dig Pit Keeps Little Hands in the Dirt and Plants in the Ground

Little hands that visit and wish to dig are welcome to use the shovels and pails to dig in the Dig Pit to keep them from digging the growing plants out of the ground. Just be aware you’ll have to share with the pig, a stone critter who is often found happily lounging in her favorite spot. All we ask is that you keep your digging to the pit, share the shovels and pails, and leave them in the dig pit when you move on to explore something else; happy digging!

Garden Wish List

  • Bamboo poles and stakes: 6-foot and 3-foot
  • Child’s wheelbarrow
  • Two ‘Tubtrugs’
  • Two rustic garden benches
  • Adult garden gloves
  • Small child’s garden gloves
  • Adult garden tools: shovel, spade, fork, iron rake, leaf rake

Get Involved...Volunteer!

Volunteers make a great garden even greater! Are you interested in helping with garden tasks, taking care of chickens, or assisting with garden activities or lessons? No experience needed, just enthusiasm and a commitment to learning. Contact us for more information on volunteering opportunities.
Contact Us

Give to Support our Gardens

To keep our grounds and gardens growing strong, donate to the South Shore YMCA Natural Science Center.