Granny’s Craft Room

I’ve been thinking about doing this for a while.  I have my adopted granddaughter, Charlotte, almost every weekday and she loves being around the school kids.  Now that winter is settling in, and it’s getting too cold to garden, I’ve decided it’s time to give it a shot.

The most popular activities at our Harvest Celebrations each fall was Granny’s Craft Room.  It, like Granny’s Garden School, was inspired by my experience as my grandchildren’s granny nanny.  Back then, I had a room with shelves all around full of miscellaneous things the kids could use to create to their hearts’ content.  So, here’s the deal. I am opening Granny’s Craft Room Tuesday and Thursday from 3:30-5 p.m., 11/28 & 11/30, 12/5 & 12/7.  Each day is limited to four children, 2nd – 4th grade, $10 per day per child.

Granny’s Craft Room is about children using their imaginations, using a variety of tools, material, and techniques and thinking outside the box.  For example, I believe children should learn to paint with quality brushes, not the 10 for $1 kind.  I am not a fan of stickers or foam shapes.  Though we will make many things, that is not the goal.  The goal is to learn new skills.  I want kids to learn how to sand a piece of wood, use a glue gun, try a wood burning tool, glass painting, simple sewing, use a hammer, screwdriver, and pliers.  How to use old water-based markers to make paint and tons of other stuff.

There is no prescribed lesson plan schedule.  Each day will be something different – a surprise adventure – but I guarantee the kids will learn something new and not be bored. Parents are welcome to stay and participate, but I cannot accommodate mobile siblings.

Register here if this is something that appeals to you.

Activities take place at the Granny office, 20 Miamiview Drive, 45140. 513-324-2873

Regrowth of Granny’s Garden School

Today, Granny’s Garden School is like a herbaceous perennial plant.  After living through a season where it grew from seed to produce a healthy plant that bloomed, set seed and produced new plants, it was cut back to the ground.  The top of the plant is gone but the rootstock is still healthy.

The new plant that is GGS is a hybrid derived from grafting new stock onto the original rootstock to create a new plant that can thrive with fewer resources.


What do woodchips and math have in common?

Filling buckets with woodchips is a welcome garden activity after this class spent the morning testing.

Wood chip math: This third-grade class is learning multiplication.  Their teacher, Kari Strater, used an activity where the kids loaded buckets of woodchips for the garden program to reinforce their classroom lessons.

School groups volunteering in the gardens

We have more school groups volunteering in the gardens each year.   We have plenty of work to do even for large groups of 70 students.  The key to working with these groups is breaking them into teams of 10 or so students.

In years past, we could call in our Garden Educators, now, we must count on volunteer leaders to lead each team.   Not just anyone can step in and lead.  The person needs to be familiar with how we work, where things are and how to engage fifth graders to high school students to focus on the task.

Thank you to Julie Whitaker, Mary Spurling, Nancy Garfinkel and Haley Shutter for helping to lead the groups that volunteered this fall.  I could not have done it without you.

Email if you would like to learn more about becoming a volunteer group leader.

The whole fifth grade from Country Day School in Indian Hill has been volunteering in the garden for the last eight years.


Peppers to the cafeteria and carrots to take home.

We’re still trying to figure out how this new model is going to work.  It is cool to think the kids can grow carrots for the cafeteria, for example, but can the cafeteria use them.  The head cook graciously praised the carrots and thanked me for bringing them.  I later learned they can only use the carrots if we prewash them.  Ours are actual cooking kitchens but the cooks do not have time for extra chores, i.e. scrubbing carrots.

This week another class harvested peppers and carrots.  The peppers went to the cafeteria and carrots home with the kids.

We keep moving forward, slowly, but it would be great to have more parent volunteers to help the classes when they come out to participate in the gardens.  I am working with a few classes for the time being to map our new processes but would greatly appreciate more minds and hands to define our new model.  I hope more parents will step up and volunteer so we can involve more children.


We harvested carrots this week.

Charlotte is a two-fisted carrot eater. 

Mrs. Hobson’s 2nd-grade class came to help harvest carrots this week.  Each student took time to examine and smell samples of carrot leaves before heading out to the locate them in the gardens.

After harvesting, students removed soil and twisted the tops off of the carrots.  From this day forward, they will be able to identify carrot plants by smell alone.  We delivered two five gallon containers of carrots to the elementary school cafeteria.

Next week, they’re harvesting more green peppers, green beans, and more carrots. You are invited to get involved helping teachers get their students involved.  They say their greatest need is someone to take care of setting up before class and cleaning up afterward.  Email Granny – to find out more about how you can help.

Introducing Baby Charlotte

Most people know that my grandchildren were the inspiration for Granny’s Garden School. Until three years ago, all five of my grandchildren lived nearby. The two older ones are now grown and married and the younger ones’ family moved to Washington state. Though we see each other whenever we can, there was a hole in my life.

I decided I was going to adopt a grandbaby. I was looking for a situation where mom and dad did not have family in town and would welcome a grandmother figure in their baby’s life. Then I met and fell in love with baby Charlotte. It turned out I was already acquainted with her mother but did not know she had married and had a baby. I now have Charlotte 3-4 days a week. She is a year old and in the last few weeks has gone from a baby to a toddler. She is with me in the gardens most days.

With her parent’s permission, I will be sharing some of our adventures in the gardens to encourage others to get their kids, hands on in the gardens.