Kids in the Garden {Grunsfeld Children’s Growing Garden}

Glencoe, IL

The Chicago Botanic Gardens is one of the area’s premier attractions, but if you thought all it had to offer kids is the train garden, it’s time to look again. This June the garden opened the first of what will be three centers in its new Learning Campus, The Grunsfeld Children’s Growing Garden. My kids and I had an opportunity to explore the new garden and try out some of their drop-in activities.

Children’s Garden at Chicago Botanic Garden

The Grunsfeld Children’s Growing Garden is designed to be a place for the Chicago Botanic Garden (CBG) to hold its classes and camps as well as drop-in family activities. Right from the start, you can tell that families were always at the forefront of the designers’ minds; the location is just one example. The garden is one of the closest to the parking lots, easily accessible off lots 5 and 6 (see the garden map), making it a quick and easy walk (especially convenient if you are always running late like us!).

The entire garden is made to appeal to children and their natural sense of curiosity. You enter through a maze where the walls are alive, covered in succulents and other plants growing vertically. When you enter, there is a welcome station equipped with spray bottles and magnifying glasses so that kids can water and investigate the plants. All the garden beds are at a perfect height for children of all ages to explore, dig and learn. There are also bathrooms in the garden area, so you don’t have to leave or travel to find one.

Children's Garden at Chicago Botanic Garden, Grunsfeld Children's Growing Garden

Four times a week, the Grunsfeld Children’s Growing Garden has drop-in activities for families free and open to all visitors. We tried out several of them when we were there for our visit. In the picture above, you can see my littlest one playing the sorting game. The goal of this activity is to separate recognizable food into what plant part it is. Teaching the children both the parts of the plant and about the food they eat.

One activity that was fun for all ages (until the toddler tried to eat the vegetables!) was making pictures using the different vegetables as stamps. The kids had a blast making fireworks out of broccoli. There was also a planting station and all the kids got to plan their own flower and take it home.

Children's Garden at Chicago Botanic Garden, Grunsfeld Children's Growing Garden

Other activities including learning about plant parts and how the plant grows and eats as well as mixing herbs to make herb butter (at home).  There was a nice mix of activities that appealed and entertained all three of my kids (ranging in age from 1 to 7). 

Want to get a glimpse of the garden?  We had Eileen, Youth and Family Programs Director, give us a two-minute tour and run-down of the garden. {please excuse the noise and shakiness of the video! Between the toddler and the construction, there was a lot going on!} 

(in the tour Eileen mentions the Japanese Garden weekends, you can get the dates for those here)

If you haven’t had a chance to check out the new Grunsfeld Children’s Growing Garden be sure to add it to your summer bucket list, you don’t want to miss it!

Grunsefeld Children’s Growing Garden
Chicago Botanic Gardens
100 Lake Cook Rd, Glencoe, IL 
Admission is free, with a parking fee of $20 per car. 

Like the Chicago Botanic Gardens on Facebook to stay up to date on what’s blooming!

Kids in the Garden {Grunsfeld Children\'s Growing Garden}
About Melissa Haak 626 Articles
Melissa is mom to 4. She used to dream of traveling the world, now she dreams of a clean kitchen. She can be found on most social media sites as @PBinmyHair because with this much hair and four kids, you're bound to find something in it.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.