The wet winters may have kept us indoors dreaming about the arrival of summer, but now that we’re seeing warmer temps and more sun we’re finally getting to spend more time outdoors with our kids. All that time we’re spending outdoors is the perfect opportunity for us to start planting our very own backyard garden. And since our budding green thumbs are more than eager to help dig through the dirt with their hands, we’ve dug up some gardening center activities and classes that will educate you on everything from creating your own composte to planting seasonal veggies.

baby gardening

Living City
(All Ages)
Started by a group of gardening friends who all lived within a few blocks of one another, Living City offers monthly gardening classes and fun workshops that cover composting, planting for every season, and food preservation. Check their website for announcements about their just-added workshops and classes to the calendar. Their upcoming workshop on June 8th is all about making homemade jam–yum!

Zenger Farm
(1st – 9th grade)

Zenger Farms is chock-full of experiences to work on a real-life farm and teach your little growers how to reconnect to the earth. In addition to a family-friendly worm composting class, (complete with red worms and your own compost bin) Zenger also offers summer camps for kids aged first through ninth grade. With adorable names like Farm Friends, Little Chickens and Bugs and Slugs, these week-long camps teach kids where their food comes from, the animals and bugs that live on the farm and even how to prepare their own delicious meals with farm-grown bounty.

11741 SE Foster Road
Portland, Or


(All Ages)

GrowPortland is dedicated to bringing fresh, organic foods to those in most need in the Portland area by organizing volunteers at community gardens. Families can get involved and help this local movement by joining in several work parties at local community gardens. Future events include the Cesar Chavez Community Garden and the Eastminster Community Garden. In addition, families can check out their updated calendar of gardening classes.

Emerson Street Gardens
(All Ages)

This city garden plot located in Portland will do more than feed the mouths of recipients; it will help feed your kids’ souls. Get your hands dirty at this community garden and teach your kids how to give at the same time. In addition to open garden parties from 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm each Saturday, Emerson Street Gardens holds a monthly gardening workshop series featuring everything from seeds and starts to herbal wonders.

822 NE Emerson Street
Portland, Or


Meriwether Lewis Elementary School Learning Gardens
(K-5th Grade)

At Meriwether Lewis Elementary School kids aged kindergarten through fifth grade are learning more than fractions and sentence structure. Thanks to raised outdoor beds, rain barrels and apple trees, these students are learning about organic gardening and renewing the earth…pretty heavy stuff for a third grader. Built in the Woodstock area on land originally used as an orchard, the school teaches students topics like seed saving, growing starts and organic gardening. A summer gardening camp is also offered.
Meriwether Lewis is one of several school-based gardens in the Portland area. For a full map of Portland School’s Edible Gardens, click here.

Portland Parks and Recreation Community Gardens
(All Ages)

If none of these activities seem right for your family, check out the Portland Parks and Recreation Community Gardens website. Here you’ll find a list of all public plots available and be able to apply for your own little slice of gardening nirvana. What could be better than showing your own kids the wonder of warm tomatoes straight from the vine?


What’s your favorite crop to harvest with little ones?

–Laurie Halter

photos courtesy of pcutlercheeseslave‘tone, & woodleywonderworks via Flickr