Brooklyn Botanic Garden
A family of rabbits in a hole near the Ginkgo Allee
 Photo by Barry Rogers.
Children’s Garden from Home
Hello Children’s Garden Families and Friends, 

If we were in the Children’s Garden this week, we might be exploring animal homes. Does anyone remember when we found a burrow of baby bunnies at the south end of the garden, or last year when we visited the new ducklings in the lily pools? Or maybe you remember the notorious groundhog who nibbled all our brassica seedlings last year! 

Animals often want their homes to be hidden from predators, spacious enough to nest and store food inside, with entrances and exits that are easy to defend or escape from if a predator does come calling. 

Do you have any animal homes in your home? Maybe you have a seashell from a trip to the beach, or a snail shell from the park. Here’s a great mini lesson from Mystery Science about life in a snail shell. If you can visit the park or take a walk around your neighborhood, look for holes in the ground, hollow logs and trees, birds’ nests, or even squirrel dreys, which look like big messy bunches of leaves and sticks in the top forked branches of a tree.
Video Lesson: Animals
(Ages 2–6, 30 minutes)
Screen shot of video lesson by Emily and Ashley
Animal lesson video by Emily Carter and Ashley Gagñay.
In this week’s video lesson, join Emily and Ashley to check in on their growing experiments, make homemade pesto, move like animals, and hear an animal story. They also answer your planting and growing questions. Keep the questions coming!

We also give special hellos to some of our garden friends in the welcome song. If your child would like a shout out in a future video, just reply to this email with their name.
Let’s Build: A Bear Den
(Ages 2–6, 20 minutes to build + time to play) 
Homemade pretend bear den
Photo by Greta Pemberton.
While we don’t have bears in New York City, it’s fun to pretend we are bears hibernating in a den. Bears have their cubs in dens, and the cubs stay with their mothers for one and a half years before they venture out to find their own dens. What will you bring into your bear den?

Table, blanket, pillows, stuffed animal, books 

Clear off a table in your house, throw a big blanket over the top, and fill your new den with pillows, stuffed animals, and books to read during your long hibernation. Like a big bear, growl at passersby.
Let’s Create: Fairy or Elf Houses
(Ages 4–10, 1 hour) 
fairy house made of natural materials
fairy house made of natural materials
fairy house made of natural materials
fairy house made of natural materials
 Photos by Ellen McCarthy.
Bears and squirrels can fend for themselves, finding or building their own homes, but many students in the Children’s Garden have explained to us that fairies and elves need a little help to build their homes.

If you can get outside, start with a walk around your neighborhood or park. Collect a few pine cones, sticks, dried leaves, or small stones and use them to create a tiny home for the elves and fairies in your neighborhood. Raid your recycling bin to create the structure, and then decorate with pebbles, acorn caps, or whatever you can find. Click here for more detailed instructions. 

Paper towel rolls, cardboard, paper, glue, markers, crayons, tissue paper, and any natural materials that you may have in your home.
Let’s Play: Hawk and Mouse
(Ages 4–10, however long you’d like to play) 
What do you think hawks love to eat? They love to eat field mice! For this game, explain that field mice have a defense mechanism to protect themselves when a hungry hawk is flying overhead: They freeze and don’t move a muscle. Hawks have very good eyes, and if they see movement, they will swoop in and gobble up their prey. So, mice must stand perfectly still, camouflaged with the ground. 

To play, we will use our imagination! Take a walk in a single-file line. The leader of the walk will be a big red-tailed hawk, while the followers will be tiny field mice.

The hawk faces forward, and they will flap their wings 1-2-3 times, counting out loud as they flap. When the hawk reaches 3, they will quickly turn around searching for mice to eat. The field mice following behind must freeze. If the hawk sees a mouse move, they gobble up that mouse and they must move to the back of the group. Take turns being the hawk.
carrots on a table
carrot top greens
carrot top greens in a food processor
bowl of carrot top pesto
Photos by Ellen McCarthy.
Let’s Cook: Carrot Top Pesto
(All ages with adult supervision, 25 minutes)
Check in on your carrot top experiment from last week. Once your carrot greens have grown, use the tops to make a tasty pesto for topping pasta, crackers, or tortilla chips. Carrot greens are very similar to parsley, but you can substitute any greens you have: spinach, chard, herbs, or even turnip greens or beet greens.

2 cups carrot tops or other greens, chopped 
⅓ cup pine nuts (alternative: sunflower seeds or chickpeas) 
2 garlic cloves 
¾ cup olive oil 
½ cup parmesan cheese (alternative: nutritional yeast) 
⅛ teaspoon sea salt 
⅛ teaspoon black pepper 
Fresh lemon juice to taste 

Pulse pine nuts in the food processor* until finely chopped. Add carrot tops and garlic cloves to food processor and pulse until chopped. Slowly add in oil and continue pulsing until well-combined, but not smooth. Add parmesan, salt, and pepper and pulse a few more times until combined. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and blend for a few more seconds. Use as a sauce with your favorite pasta, vegetables, meat, or as a dip. 

*If you don’t have a food processor, no problem! Try a blender or a mortar and pestle to mix, mash, and squash by hand. 
Remember that your garden journal is a great place to glue or write in your favorite recipes and activities. So many families have been sending us photos of your garden projects from home—thank you! If you make an exciting discovery, create a beautiful fairy house, or want to share photos of your windowsill gardens, we’d love to see. When you send them in, just let us know if it’s okay to share the photos back with the group.
Emily, Ellen, Ashley, and Greta
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