Erin Lauckner

Date of Award

January 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Nutrition & Dietetics

First Advisor

Desiree Tande


Children do not consume recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables, which has been correlated with negative health consequences. Gardening with children has been shown to positively impact children’s consumption of these foods. While research investigating gardening with children exists, much of this has been conducted with teachers and children in schools, and limited research has been conducted with childcare providers and preschool-aged children. Little research has been conducted about this topic with in-home childcare providers and the children under their care. This pilot study utilized a cross-sectional mixed methods research design through an online survey instrument. A convenience sample of in-home childcare providers were invited to complete the survey, which questioned participants knowledge, attitudes (perceptions), and practices (behaviors) surrounding gardening with children. In-home childcare providers noted more benefits than barriers to gardening with children. Reported benefits included role modeling, introducing new foods, increased willingness to eat fruits and vegetables, teaching children where food comes from, bonding with children, offering sensory experiences, sharing the gardening experience with children’s families, and improved communication. Reported significant barriers were gardening knowledge deficit and grants or funding for kid-sized tools and garden supplies. Providing gardening resources and education is important for in-home childcare provider site gardens to be successfully implemented and sustained.