Posted in Family, Gardening, parenting

Garden Fun!

Okay so we know why to start a garden and how but I wanted to post some fun things to do now that you have one!

Again, if you have the space make sure you take the time to plan out seating for your garden. Just having a place outside to sit to do activities and admire your hard work will do wonders.

Also remember that not all kids are the same, some of them will not like getting all dirty and enjoy these activities while some might wish they were getting dirtier.

A good activity to do with kids who are less prone to make mud pies is to do garden planning. Spend the day going around to different gardens, farmer’s markets, and even stores like Home Depot to get some ideas of what you will want in your garden. They can make a list or take photos (disposable cameras probably the best idea). Once you have items listed that your child wants start planning.

Making decorations for in the garden is another activity that doesn’t actually require getting dirty. You can make everything from painted rocks, to labels, to fairy houses. Here are some really ideas for fairy homes that your child can make:

Real Life, One Day at a Time: a fairy gardengarden fairy sign post with 3 signs rustic by NatureScavenger, $12.50This is a good way to help out  birds keep a durable home since the nests are always falling and they end up loosing their eggs. For bird family you can also use  a gallon of milk. Add some straws or a Piece of old clothing to help them stay warm!!!

Also some ideas for the boys:

I love this idea for making mini truck tunnels to create a little construction site in your backyard. My three-year-old (Noah) would love this!IMG_0914_2

I actually think my little girl would love that dino garden…

Anyhoo let’s get dirty-

Obviously letting your kids plant their own seeds and plants is the best way to get them involved. There are some really cute tools out there designed just for kids or just let them bare hand it.

Getting outside in the garden when it’s raining is always fun for kids (obviously not when there’s a tsunami but you know…). Here you can see some ideas I compiled for outdoor rain activities.

If it’s not raining go out into the garden and find a spot that the kids can play in the dirt without disturbing any plants. Bury a few items in there. You can make this game a lot of ways- who left it there? Is that a list left of the items? Is it treasure? Does it have markings of some kind? I couldn’t find any links with some more ideas that go with this but I think you can come up with some cool ones (post below if you do). How to Make a Terrarium

Speaking of digging there’s always the ever fun and ever popular digging for worms! Yeah I know but they are really cool animals if you think about it. They breathe through their skin and some species of earthworms can grow up to ten feet!

How about (for a little older kids) letting them pick out things from the garden to build their own terrarium for their room or to display in the living room. Here’s a great post about doing this with kids:

10 Off-Grid Backyard Games for Your Family ~ Mom with a Prep {blog}There are always backyard games that can enjoyed along side your beautiful garden. This site has quite a few ideas, some I hadn’t seen until stumbling across it.

For little ones consider adding a sandbox or a rock box to your backyard garden. There are pluses to both so do a little research to see which you would prefer having.

For teens getting them involved in all the nitty gritty parts of gardening is a plus. Also I think showing them the payoff of the hard work is even better. If you’re growing anything edible let your teen come up with new dinners to try with the ingredients. If you’re growing flowers let your teen make something that they can give to their grandparents or to the local nursing homes. I know charity isn’t everyone’s thing but most middle school and teenagers react well to making others happy.

 

 

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Posted in Family, Gardening

Why Start a Family Garden

Remember that Lima bean experiment you did in school with the wet paper towel? You got to watch over time the roots grow and the bean start to sprout into a plant. Other than that one tiny bean I don’t recall any sort of gardening or growing of food education when I was in school. There are some schools now that have programs for this but most do not. That is why I am doing a four part post on why you should garden with your children, what the advantages are, how to do it successfully, and some fun activities to incorporate.

Chances are you have at least one place that you remember as a kid, which was outside, that you liked to go to. Maybe it was a relative’s garden, or the woods behind your friend’s house, or even the local farmer’s market. I remember a friend of the family had an old plantation. In his backyard was a small bush lined maze with four pockets. Inside were things like a bird bath, or a fruit tree, or different kinds of plants, but walking through there just transported me to somewhere else when I was younger. You can make a small magical area for your kids right in your own backyard. Don’t stop reading if you think your yard is too small or you don’t have the area that would be needed. Even window plants, porch plants, indoor gardens, and other small areas can work.

                                                                                               (Results may vary, fairy not included in all gardens, not typical outcome)

With STEM education still on the rise learning environmental science can never start early enough. Getting firsthand experience with nature and watching things grow can give you child an educational boost in the science department. Also getting kids outside and working in a garden starting a young age will make them less likely to become couch potatoes. Childhood obesity is no joke and is still, even with all the great resources out there, a major problem. If your child starts to appreciate the outdoors and everything they have to offer you can probably avoid this problem. They will be getting physical exercise while gardening and learn a sense of responsibility. If you are growing fruits and vegetables then learning good nutrition and becoming interested in eating these natural foods will also create healthier children.

On top of everything you will bond. You will start something that you and your children do together that will become almost a tradition. Something they will remember and (hopefully) keep up into their teen years when they are the hardest to reach.

Another huge plus to gardening and growing foods with your children is improving their self-esteem. Some signs your child maybe experiencing low self-esteem can range from not trying new tasks, cheating at games or on tests, becoming withdrawn, being over sensitive of other’s feelings about them, and even trying to be too helpful at home. Gardening can instill responsibility and also give them a sense of pride. They can show off what they have done and say “I made that grow”.

Even though we do not want to cheat per say I found a great list of plants which are easier to grow. Seeing the end product and their plants be successful can be crucial to keeping their interest in gardening alive, especially in the beginning. There are also ideas for indoor and potted plants.

See list here. 

A good garden is something you can work on all year long, so don’t assume you can only use this as a way to bond in the spring and summer months. I will show you in the activities post how to make some of the garden excitement last throughout the year.

More on this to come…