Texas A&M Gardens host Plant America Kids Gardening Fair

Mentor shows an ear of corn to demonstrate being able to eat seeds.

COLLEGE STATION — The Gardens at Texas A&M University welcomed 36 pre-K students and 28 kindergartners from St. Thomas Early Learning Center in College Station during the A&M Garden Club’s Plant America Kids Gardening Fair.

“At the Gardening Fair for Kids, preschool and kindergarten children went through stations designed from time-tested, age-appropriate Junior Master Gardener curriculum,” said Michelle Abney, Texas A&M Leach Teaching Gardens education coordinator and Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service associate.

Child holding a butterfly fan and butterfly shaped snack bag.

Insect Symmetry had students create a butterfly-shaped snack using vegetables and fruits and a butterfly fan that they were able to decorate with stickers using their knowledge of symmetry to match each of the butterfly’s wings on the fan from one side to the other. (Photo by Laura Muntean.)

The stations included parts of the plant, insect symmetry and what plants need to live. Kids sang songs, crafted paper hats, made butterfly-shaped snacks and explored The Gardens on a bug hunt.

Seven Texas A&M students from Dr. Craig Coates entomology course, a visualization student from Blinn College, and two students from the Junior Master Gardeners office helped prepare materials and conduct activities, said Johanna Roman, program manager for the Center on Conflict and Development at Texas A&M and chair of Global Gardening at the A&M Garden Club.

Two children search the garden using magnifying glasses and wearing their new sombreros.

The Plant Needs Sombrero station had each child make a sombrero to wear out in the garden out of newspaper and other decorative pieces that would serve as all the necessities a plant needs to be successful. (Photo by Laura Muntean.)

The event was possible through a grant from National Garden Clubs that the A&M Garden Club received. Ten A&M Garden Club volunteers and a Williamson County Master Gardener helped lead activities during the kids fair.

Little girl looks at a ladybug through her magnifying glass.

The Plant Inspectors station came equipped with magnifying glasses, and kids became “plant inspectors” in the garden, learning that insects camouflage themselves to avoid predators. (Photo by Laura Muntean.)

“We made the horticulture lessons really fun and interactive for them,” Roman said. “We were happy to see so many kids enjoying our gardening lessons. Events like this one help promote the love of agriculture at an early age and teach them a little bit about food production and how to have fun in the garden.”