I love being able to show my kids how their food grows, how to grow a thing and how to connect with nature. I try to include them in every step of the process...although I have to admit, their attention span is not always the greatest. The trick is to not push the issue. If my kids want to help, great...if not, they can play with toys in the backyard while mum works in the garden.
Both kids are fine with this arrangement...but it occured to me that I've taken our kids in the garden for granted! If there are of of my followers who wish to know how to break into the gardening world WITH their kids...read on....
PLANT STUFF THEY LIKE
An easy way to get kids to like gardening is to plant foods they like. Yeah, yeah, I know...kids AND veggies??? She must be nuts....but most kids love peas...so thats a good place to start. Peas have pretty flowers and vines that climb like spiderman. They also come in handy packages that are fun to open. Waat's not to love? Cherry tomatoes are also a great start too, they actually come in small mouth sizes! Pumpkins are also cool to grow, because at the end of the year, they make great Halloween decorations.
PLANT STUFF THEY"VE NEVER HEARD OF
We planted eggplants last year. Owen had never had them before. Watching them grow beautiful flowers and then the odd shaped fruit was amazing. I tried to explain to Owen that they were eggplants. He was definitely confused...but mum, eggs don't come from plants!!! See? The learning and laughing never ends.
PLANT STUFF IN CUTE CONTAINERS
While I am normally not a fan of prepackaged things, these items were a big hit with Owen. His nana bought some cups at the grocery store in Verona, with the pictures right on them. You could do the same with Dixie cups and peat pot starters, but the pictures on the sides really drive the point home with Owen. You can see what it is that is growing from seed...not in some abstract way...but REALLY see what's in each pot.
When our 10 year old was smaller, I researched ways to get his excited about gardening. One site suggested a worm garden! I was intrigued. If you have the space, this is a great idea. Basically you plant the whole garden, saving a smaller area with nothing in it. Leave shovels nearby for random digging. The kids get to "farm" worms while mum weeds the rest of the actual garden. WARNING: this activity can kill hours upon hours if your kids are into it...you may not be able to drag them away from it!
|Pancake and Vegetable - Owen's worm friends|
VISIT YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY
You can visit your local library and ask what they have in the kids section about gardening. One of the best books I've ever come across was given to Owen by my Aunt Sharon. When I first read it, I was perplexed. How did this lady write a whole book about Owen and has never met him?!?!?! It is absolutely the cutest and most accurate book to show how kids interpret gardening. I'll give you some examples...but you really should check this book out for yourselves. Click on link below to see her website for the book (as well as her other books too)
My son has a few favorite passages...like this...
"I watch my garden. I think maybe plants take a long time to grow."
(Owen watching our garden growing)
Owen always points out that Mum always says "EAT ONE AT A TIME"...but he never does. This picture is so accurate...even down to the seeds on the front of his shirt!!!
And his all-time favorite is this...
"In my garden, I am a GIANT. Things are growing, tiny and green."
Why not get your lil gardener-in-training a copy of this book? For less than $12...it's totally worth it!!!
(images reproduced with permission from Peggy Collins herself! Thanks Peggy! Owen thoroughly enjoys his garden book...which he still thinks is about himself...tee hee)
UPDATE: I posted this and the next day we got the next issue of Chirp magazine (Little brother to Owl Magazine, remember that one?) This month's issue was all things gardening and boy was it cute!!! Find a copy and enjoy with your kids.