Kids in the Garden
I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend. I haven't posted in a several days because my kids and I have been very busy outside the past few days. We started on Friday doing yard clean-up and getting our garden area prepped. Saturday morning we went to a greenhouse way out in the country and loaded up with some of our favorite flower, fruit and vegetable plants. We don't have a very big yard but gardening has always been a big deal to me. Spending time in the garden getting my hands dirty is a wonderful stress relief. I think gardening is very therapeutic. Of course, my favorite part is reaping the fruits (and vegetables) of my labor. I love being able to grab something fresh from the garden. Even my small garden is an inspiration to eat fresh and healthy. I've tried to expose my kids to the joys of gardening ever since they were old enough to walk. I also enjoyed exposing my students to small bits of gardening when I was teaching outside the home. There's just something special about planting a seed or small plant, tending to it and watching it grow. It's a great lesson in patience and learning to care for something. I think including children in planting and gardening activities at an early age helps foster an appreciation and love for nature. I'm trying to build positive memories with my children that will carry over into their adult lives. I hope that they will always appreciate and respect nature and have a desire for fresh and healthy foods.
Weekly Challenge: Even if you don't have a large space to work with, I would encourage everyone to enjoy getting your hands a little dirty by planting something somewhere. Even if it's just a small herb garden in a patio box or some flower, herb or vegetable seeds in a Terra Cotta pot.
I'll try to post some pictures later with some of the things we planted around our house.
Some tips to make gardening/planting successful with small children:
~If you visit a greenhouse, do it close to planting day. I try to get things planted the same day or the next.
~Get all of your suppplies organized and ready ahead of time as the kids will be anxious to get started.
~Expect to get dirty (you and the kids).
~Child size gardening gloves are great for the little ones who don't love getting dirty hands. I found child size gardening gloves in the dollar bins at Target.
~If planting with a large group, it works best to work with 2 or 3 children at a time rather than have an entire class trying to do a potting activity at once. I've found that writing each child's name on a pot in permanent marker works great and eliminates confusion over ownership if you plan to send the plants home.
~Expect that young children may lose interest and/or become impatient with a gardening activity. If you are going to be involved in the project for an extended time period, plan a few low maintenance activities for the children to do alongside or near you as they tire of gardening.