When I was a kid, summer meant strawberries. After school, I would head down to the local farm with my Mom to pick BUSHELS of them. After I had picked (and eaten) enough, we would go home and make jam. My father was a bit particular about his jam—he didn’t like seeds. After Mom cooked the strawberries, she would have to strain out the seeds for him. We didn’t have any fancy utensils, she just hung the straining cloth from the cabinet knobs. But, we made do and the jam was yummy!
That was my inspiration for our last workshop. I found the strawberry planting project in the book, Ready Set Grow where they used fire engine red rubber boots for strawberry planters! We adapted the project and used gallon jug containers instead. They worked out great and the kids loved them!
Mina and I made up some fresh strawberry jam for every one to take home and Mina also wanted to make some homemade strawberry tarts. We set everything out on the table and got ready to garden in the Children’s Room of the bookshop. Mina put on the perfect dress to celebrate the occasion: her strawberry sundress! The kids eyes grew so wide when they realized they were going to be able to garden INSIDE! They thought that was the coolest thing ever!
We had quite a few kids join us and we sat on the rug, ate some tarts, drank some juice and read some strawberry- and summer-themed books. Our favorite was The Grey Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher. We first discovered this book at our friend’s house and it is very cool! It is about a lady who buys a pint of juicy strawberries for her family at the grocer. On the way home, a blue goblin sees the strawberries and wants to snatch them for himself. This wordless book follows the two characters as they race through the woods and swamp. Finally, the Grey Lady is able to evade the blue goblin and make it home while the goblin discovers a lovely blackberry bush to munch on.
We moved onto The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear. This classic book is about the Little Mouse who finds a huge strawberry and does everything to hide it from the Big Hungry Bear—including putting a mask on it for a disguise and putting it under lock and key!
I had also wanted to read The Perfect Gift but the kids were too excited to get into the dirt and they didn’t want any more stories! But this is the perfect gift for a Grandma, a lovely story about a little bird who wants to bring a strawberry to her Grandma. The little bird picks the strawberry but then it plops into the water. A squirrel, a duck, and a frog come to help her get it out of the lake, but an alligator swims up and tries to get them. Fortunately, they escape, but the alligator eats the strawberry. The friends sit and think and decide to make a book about their strawberry adventure and this is that book!
And then all of a sudden there were hands in the dirt scooping and dumping and filling their pots. They learned how to squeeze the plants out of the plastic containers and plant them in the jugs. It is always a good sign when dirt is flying everywhere and kids have it embedded under their fingernails! The finished strawberry planters were beautiful, and much, MUCH fun was had.
You don’t want to miss another afternoon like this one! Come join us for our next Friday Fun With Kids at The King’s! Friday, June 11 at 4 p.m. We will be making a gift to give to Dad on Father’s Day!