02 May 2011 2 Comments
And by this I mean both verb and noun. Kids are a hoot in the garden. Not only do they come up with some of the most amazing theories about nature at work, but they delight in the simplest of discoveries (a joy for any parent to watch).
But how do you get kids INTO the garden? In general, kids tend to avoid chores like homework. Sure, they understand it’s part of the deal, but if they can shortcut the process somehow…
…then by all means, they’re shorting! However, if the garden presents adventure and discovery, you won’t be able to keep them out. Bugs, rare finds, lost coins, worms, butterflies, animal poop–having your own garden equates to big time excitement! And then of course there’s harvest time. What kid doesn’t like to eat yummy food?
Stop laughing. I’m serious! Vegetables can be yummy for kids, so long as they’re “staged” in the proper fashion. (Note to parents of daughters: while I don’t literally mean fashion, you can use this angle to get your girls in the garden. How? My daughter plays with her Polly’s among the branches and trellis’ and has quite the time of it, creative little thing that she is!). But truthfully, lure them with the promise of baking healthy french fries and potato chips together.
Packing carrots with the greens intact makes for amazing bragging rights (wonderful cupcakes, too). Even broccoli snapped from the stalk seems a whole lot more alluring to kids than the shrink-wrapped store-bought kind. I mean, what lucky person had the right to break all those “trees” from the stalks?
Not your kids. Trust me–they want their chance. It’s fun to harvest vegetables! Pulling carrots from their hiding places, swimming for buried treasure–er, potatoes. It’s a blast! And the sheer pride they derive from planting seeds, watching them grow…
It’s truly a wonderful experience. Have them grow their own herbs, too, and then dry them in oven. They’re perfect for sprinkling on pizza, pasta–you name it! Not to mention they make great gifts for friends and family, and dare I mention…teachers? End of the school year is approaching fast, but don’t worry if your child doesn’t have their own garden yet–they can practice with fresh fruits and vegetables from the grocery store! My kids and I recently went strawberry picking and ended up with flats of excess berries. What did we do?
Made our own homemade preserves. (It’s easier than you think.) Check my recipe section for complete how-to instructions and don’t forget Mom! With Mother’s Day on the horizon, your kids will enjoy giving her the gift of nature with satchels of lavender and rosemary, or painting a planter pot at the local paint and glaze shop. We have an awesome one in our area. Check your local listings for one near you.
For those who “know how to sew,” how about creating a garden apron? Worked to get my daughter excited about the garden… And it’s too cute to pass. For those rebel do-it-yourselfers, I’ve included the “apron-construction-by-the-seat-of-my-pants” pattern. I do love a challenge.
Now that we’re all dressed up, how about hosting a harvest party? Better yet, invite your childs’ friends over for a potato swim or carrot dig! They will surely be the hit of the neighborhood. And there are some awfully cute garden-style invitations to choose from out there. I couldn’t resist.
And when they finish with their first season, encourage sustainability with custom-designed seed saving packets. Instructions are right here under the Kid Buzz section of this website and they are way cool.
No matter which path you choose, gardening with kids is tons of fun and a true joy. Plant seeds of love together, and watch your relationship grow.