With how fast paced life is and how separated everything is getting, it is hard to find activities as a family or even just with your kids anymore. I know this struggle first hand with 4 kids of my own ranging in ages from 2 to 12. What I have been challenged to do this year is be more present with my kids. That means staying off my electronic devices and doing things with them! I have had to get creative. I get some exercise in by doing push-ups with my daughters on my back or having them push me down while doing sit-ups. It has been a lot of fun. But what I am passionate about is teaching my kids things! I love to read to them and teach them about life. I want to get them in touch with nature more because nature is fascinating. So here are a few things I am thinking about doing to get my kids more involved in gardening:
1. Let them help you Plan your Garden. Let them look in magazines, on the internet, at books. Map out your garden(maybe even be professional and get graph paper) and let your kids help come up with the plan on what to plant and how to lay out the garden. What are their favorite things to eat? Do they want to plant some fruits also? What about some fun herbs that they can eat the leaves such as lemon thyme, mint, and chocolate mint?
2. Teach them about the soil. The soil is a fascinating thing and I am learning more and more about it daily as we are looking into some organic options. Have them look into compost, fertilizer, and other things to make gardening better. In the process you will both learn together. They could even be the expert and teach you 😉 Wouldn’t that be awesome and give them a huge boost of confidence?
3. Let them Help you plant the garden. I know, I know it is going to go a lot slower and could get frustrating. But, it could be a very fun and memorable time. Last spring I had my girls help me plant some tomatoes and out of the blue my 1 year old started throwing the fertilizer in the hole(which was safe because it was totally organic). I took some video of it which is at the top of this link. Maybe if you teach and train them right they will do all the planting themselves next year(Right….Well you can dream, can’t you)
4. Teach them the value of working hard by letting them help you Maintain the Garden. Nothing says hard work like hoeing, weeding, & watering. They could even name their “mini farm.” You could have family gardening time where you all go out together and you conquer it at the same time or you could divide the garden into sections and give different kids different sections. Let them name their parts of the garden or make fun little signs.
5. Have them Enjoy the fruits and veggies of their labor. Nothing is better than fresh produce from the garden! Fresh tomatoes, beans, peas, lettuce. As they pick them with you be sure to remind them they helped to grow the bounty. When you have people over, tell your friends what your kids did. You could even have them deliver them to people around your neighborhood. Also, if your kids help grow it they are a lot more likely to eat it!
Well this is going to be my plan for gardening with my kids this summer. I will see how it works. Also would love to hear some of your ideas!