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My Body is a Garden - A food celebration perfect for bedtime.

Caregivers and kids pretend to plant fruits and vegetables in their garden, just add a little soil, water and a goodnight's sleep.

Photo of Skylar Saffold
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As the sun goes down, and the moon comes up, 

We get ready for my special bedtime.

I pick out my favorite jammies with the pandas, in just my size. 

I brush my teeth and wash my face, and cozy up, ready for my treat.

We have a special night-night game, we play before I sleep. We pretend to plant a garden using new foods, old favorites, and everything in-between. 

In the Spring, we plant a garden on my tummy: 

Round Pink Beets -- Boom, Boom, Boom

Loopy Yellow Peas -- Woot, Woot, Woot

Spongy Brown Mushrooms -- Noop, Noop, Noop

In the Summer, we plant a garden on my back:  

Large Striped Watermelon -- Gab, Gab, Gab

Bumpy Dark Green Avocados -- Roll, Roll, Roll

Tough Violet Carrots -- Shoo, Shoo, Shoo

In the Fall, we plant a garden on my legs:  

Leafy Purple Kale -- Tall, Tall, Tall

Knotty White Cauliflower -- Stomp, Stomp, Stomp

Long Orange Sweet Potatoes -- Eeep, Eeep, Eeep


In the Winter, we plant a garden on my arms: 

Whispy Light Green Broccoli -- Chomp, Chomp. Chomp

Layered Red Onion -- Fromp, Fromp, Fromp

Little Black Lentils -- Sprinkle, Sprinkle, Sprinkle

We end it with a pat pat pat for the soil, and swosh swosh swosh for the water, and a kiss to help it grow, all night long. 

Describe the intended vision for your early childhood book manuscript in 1-2 sentences

I see it as a quiet bedtime game, that encourages caregivers and kids to explore saying new words and sounds as they plant the garden together. Caregivers can use new sounds and unique hand motions for each item planted (ie: drumming fingers for lentils). I would love to use illustrations to provide ideas for the sounds and hand motions that caregivers can try for each item. The more they read the story, the more they can experiment adding in new foods they encounter as the child grows.

Share your suggested book title

My Body is a Garden

How has this book been informed by early childhood language development research and evidence? (response minimum 250 Characters)

This book has two main takeaways for caregivers, informed by early childhood language development: - It's been shown that what our kids eat and learn about during these first few years of life will develop their tastes for the future. This book aims to teach healthy food habits early. It will do this by familiarizing children with the types of food we want to encourage our children to love from the start. Kids who spend time discussing, playing with, and learning about the healthy foods we want to include in our diet, will be more likely to end up wanting to eat them in real life. - By providing the structure of a game, caregivers can now use this same structure to discuss lots of different topics. It is a great way for children and caregivers to play, read, and sing together both with this book and without.

Please describe any familiarity you may have with Philadelphia and its residents? (optional question)

I was raised in Washington, D.C. and I have spent some time in Philadelphia, as a tourist. I imagine that my experience, having been raised in an urban-area on the East Coast, was somewhat similar.

How have you crafted this manuscript to resonate with and/or reflect the experiences of those living in urban contexts? (optional question)

Readers will benefit by being able to use this book as a tool. Many children in urban settings aren't told about where/how food makes it to their plate. This book will provide a fun way of teaching that information and showing what food looks like as it grows. I also hope this book is a tool. Sometimes it can be hard to know how to relate best with children. This book is an easy to use guide, with ideas for how to use it, and it can be personalized to the context of each person's upbringing. It also can be read without actually reading the words. Caregivers will be able to use the illustrations to create their own story and sounds.

Location: Country

United States

Location: State or Department


Location: City


Tell us more about you / your team

I have always had an interest in health foods. I'm a marketer by trade, with a background in working for health and wellness consumer brands. I believe in teaching a love for healthy foods as early as possible. I was part of the Chefs Move to School Initiative and was on the White House Lawn at its launch. I believe in the power of education and that what we put into our bodies determines what we get out of it. This project would be a way to share my passion with others and give them tools and ideas to ensure future generations are learning healthy food habits early on.

Provide an example visual identity for a look and feel you might like to achieve. ( (optional question, 3-5 visuals)

Multiple Choice - Have you been previously published (online, self-published, and print included)?

  • No

Do you have an agent?

  • No

How did you hear about the Challenge? (optional question)

  • OpenIDEO announcement email

What best describes you? (optional question)

  • No entity type - individual with an idea


Join the conversation:

Photo of Itika Gupta

Hi Skylar Saffold  Welcome to the Challenge Community!
Very fascinating read mixing the boundaries between nurturing a garden and nurturing a body, all of this while prepping to sleep.
How might you evolve your manuscript to introduce new nudges of engagement and interaction for caregivers, to help them with their child’s learning development as they narrate the story? You can find some inspiration in the Final Toolkit and Challenge Resources on the main page.

Photo of Skylar Saffold

Thanks Itika Gupta - I'll take a look and see what might be good revisions. I want to make sure I'm understanding your suggestions - but it sounds like new ways to engage and interact throughout the story is desired? Things like, adding questions to encourage caregivers and kids to come up with their own ideas of what to plant. Also, within the illustrations, I'm hoping to suggest/encourage caregivers and kiddos to create their own sounds for each plant addition. Is this what your feedback is directed at?

Also a little background around the intention of the story, which I hope is coming across: The inspiration of this story comes from playing this game with my 2.5 year old at bedtime. We plant a garden on his back each night. He gets to suggest what plants he wants (sometimes its strawberries, other days it trucks...!) and some days we introduce new plants he has never heard of or tasted - like, Rutabaga or Parsnip, or new vegetables that he might encounter soon (ie: green beans - that we will be serving tomorrow) and he enjoys practicing that new sound and is excited to see that new item in person.

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