Breaking Ground on New Toddler Garden


In early December, ground was broken for the start of the installation of the new toddler garden at Welsh Park-DeKalb. The “Basics Toddler Garden” is a collaborative project between Basics DeKalb County, DeKalb County Community Gardens, DeKalb County Regional Office of Education, DeKalb Park District, and University of Illinois Extension Master Gardeners along with various community volunteers.

The Basics Toddler Garden project underway is in conjunction with the Welsh Park improvements spearheaded by the DeKalb Park District. The park district project includes a new playground, splash pad, and basketball courts. The Basics Toddler Garden is open to the public but will also be used year-round as a space for programming by various community organizations.

“This garden, located in a community park, will provide a constructive space for families with young children to do the ‘5 Basics’ and engage in ways that promote optimal brain development while having fun and spending time outdoors. Our youngest learners, as young as infants, will benefit from this community project.” said Courtney Hill, Coordinator for Basics DeKalb County.

The Basics are a set of five evidence-based, nurturing practices that help all infants and toddlers thrive cognitively, socially and emotionally. Every child from every background can benefit. For more detailed information on this early childhood brain development approach go to Basics DeKalb County website: (

The Basics Toddler Garden at Welsh Park (651 Russell Road, DeKalb) when completed in the Spring of 2021, will include the following hands-on features:

  • dirt digging site
  • sensory and an edible garden
  • musical flower sculptures
  • obstacle paver path
  • seating for story and reading times

View a 3D rendering of the Basics Toddler Garden at Welsh Park below! A week-long planting party involving community organizations and residents is planned for May 15th-21st leading up to the grand opening on May 22, 2021. Stay tuned for more details on

“DeKalb County Community Gardens was very happy to be involved in making this Toddler Garden available to the Annie Glidden North community. Numerous studies show that gardens and contact with nature provide multiple benefits to children of all ages. The toddler garden is an excellent opportunity for parents and children to be together in nature. It is a healthy and educational activity that benefits children in their development cognitively, emotionally, and socially.” said Dan Kenney, Executive Director of DeKalb County Community Gardens.

Basics DeKalb County is currently investigating locations for a second toddler garden within DeKalb County. Community members are encouraged to share potential locations with the organization. This project is possible only through the generosity community partnerships and donors. All contributors will have a special place of honor at the garden. For more questions or more information, please contact Amanda Christensen or 815-217-0460.

Original article published at