Growing Minds Day by Day: Week of July 6

This week’s theme is summer. Our “Growing Minds Day by Day” educational resource lists are designed for families and educators to use during the COVID-19 quarantine and beyond. 

Growing Minds Day by Day

Week of July 6, 2020 – Summer

Books for Monday, 7/6

In the Garden with Dr. Carver

In honor of #BlackBotanistsWeek, a celebration of Black (and BIPOC) people who love plants, our first recommendation this week is In the Garden with Dr. Carver by Susan Grigsby. It’s an exciting day in a small Alabama town– Dr. George Washington Carver, a famous plant scientist, has arrived to show the community how to improve the soil and grow a variety of delicious crops. Recommended for grades K-3, this fictionalized account of Dr. Carver’s work offers a great introduction to early farm to school initiatives conducted via Dr. Carver’s “moveable school”. The book concludes with a biographical note about Dr. Carver. Watch a read-aloud on YouTube. (PS: Did you know that we have our own edible tribute garden to Dr. Carver here in Asheville? Learn more about Dr. George Washington Carver Edible Park, which hosts over 40 varieties of fruit and nut trees.) 

It’s Summer!

Next up is It’s Summer! by Linda Glaser. This is a story about all the wonderful things to do in the summer, illustrated using beautiful cut-paper art by Susan Swan. Explore the animal and plant life, weather, clothing, colors, and feelings associated with the summer season. Watch a librarian-led read-aloud on YouTube

Find more books

Both of the books featured above are available for check-out from our Growing Minds lending library. Looking for more garden-themed children’s books? Visit our farm to school literature database to browse more recommendations. Type “gardens” or “summer” into the search bar to find books that align with this week’s theme. Type “diversity” into the search bar to find books that feature characters from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups.


Recipe for Tuesday, 7/7: Cucumber Short Stacks

Cucumbers are a summer staple at farmers markets in our region. They’re also the star ingredient in this simple, healthy snack that kids will enjoy making (with a little help from an adult). Click here to view an illustrated version of this recipe, with step-by-step instructions in both English and Spanish. 

Keep the summertime fun going by enjoying your cucumber short stacks outside at a teddy bear picnic! Consider making a batch of homemade lemonade for the picnic, adding fresh mint leaves or berries to the lemonade if you have them on hand in the garden or fridge. Finally, have your children grab a blanket and their favorite stuffed animals, and enjoy your sandwiches and lemonade together outdoors. 

Cucumber Short Stacks
Serves 3-4


  • 1 local cucumber
  • 1 local pepper (optional)
  • 1 local carrot (optional)
  • 4-5 slices of whole wheat bread
  • 4 Tbsp. spreadable cream cheese or hummus


1. Wash the cucumber, pepper, and carrot. Slice into small slices and set aside.

2. Lay the bread slices onto a sheet tray.

3. Cut the bread into fun shapes using a cookie cutter (this step is optional but fun!).

4. Spread about a tablespoon of cream cheese or hummus on top of each slice of bread.

5. Put slices of cucumber, pepper, and carrot on top. Enjoy!


Online Resources for Wednesday, 7/8

Growing Minds Resources for Summer

Veggie Crowns (Preschool Lesson Plan):
Encourage children to gain knowledge and interest in new fruits and vegetables by making vegetable crowns. Children will learn to identify new fruits and vegetables. They will associate vegetables and fruits with a positive experience making a fun art project.

Past Day by Day Resource Lists:

Teaching Tolerance July 4th Equity Resources

With its cook-outs, fireworks, and parades, July 4th may seem like the epitome of summer to many Americans. However, not everyone views (or celebrates) the holiday the same way. Visit Teaching Tolerance’s website to find articles and ideas for contextualizing the Independence Day holiday with children and students in a time of widespread protest. 

Activities for Thursday, 7/9: Garden Energizers!

The 2020 Summer Olympics may have been postponed, but the Veg-Olympics are your childrens’ time to shine! After the games are finished, help your kids stretch and cool down by leading a session of garden-themed yoga. 

Veg-Olympic Games

  • Zucchini Relay: Choose a short running course and break children into relay teams. Use zucchini as batons to pass from one relayer to the next.
  • Potato Toss: Divide the class into pairs and spread out along two lines, starting one foot away from your partner. Toss a potato to your partner. With a successful catch, each partner takes one step back and tosses the potato again. Repeat until one pair tosses the farthest.
  • Strawberry Balance: Set a course and give each child one strawberry and a spoon. The goal is to walk the course quickest while balancing the berry on the spoon along the whole route. 

Garden Yoga

Ask children to sit in a circle. Use these “garden yoga poses” to practice meditation and mindfulness in the garden.

  • Beanstalk Pose (Tree Pose)
  • Apple Pick Pose (Warrior Pose)
  • Gardener’s Stretch (Downward Dog Pose)
  • Tomato Pick Pose (Triangle Pose)
  • Repeat, or make up your own poses!


Freaky Friday, 7/10: Explore the Farmers Market

Farmers’ Market Day

Summer is prime farmers market season! Help your kids gear-up for a trip to the farmers market by watching a read-aloud of Farmers’ Market Day by Shanda Trent. This short rhyming story follows an enthusiastic little girl as she searches the farmers market for the perfect treat. She’ll discover forests of broccoli trees and rainbows of flowers and taste freshly baked breads and pies. But will she find her prize? Farmers’ Market Day captures a colorful feast for the senses!

Find a farmers market near you

Find out what to expect around Buncombe County markets this week and a get few ideas about what to do with those cherries in ASAP’s Fresh at Farmers Markets report on⁣ Not in Buncombe County? Find a list of farmers markets throughout the region here. Note that many farmers markets in our region accept SNAP/EBT benefits, with some offering “Double SNAP” promotions to shoppers. Learn more about SNAP market programs

Market Scavenger Hunt

Engage your children at the market by instructing them to keep an eye out for the fruits and veggies included in our July Farmers Market Scavenger Hunt (see page 44 of our Growing Minds at Market Manual.)

That’s it for this week. Check back next week for new resources. Click here to access Day by Day resources from past weeks. If you didn’t find what you’re looking for here, please visit our Lesson Plans page.

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