In honor of Earth Week, we’re excited to have special guest contributor and mommy-blogger, Samantha Feuss of Have Sippy Will Travel. You can read more from her here.
Gardening is a great way to spend time with your kids, and to get them outdoors and away from TVs, computers and other comforts of modern life. All of this is well and good–but it’s important to spend time outdoors, getting in touch with nature, and getting dirty. After all–all kids need to get dirty now and again.
If it is still cold where you are, you can start with seeds and plant indoors, then when the plants are large enough, bring them outside and plant them. Think about letting your child make decisions about what to plant, or where they want to grow their garden. This will make them feel important, interested and included, and of course they will be more likely to keep tending to the garden all spring and summer long with you if they are interested. Explain to them what steps you are taking and why as you go along–remember, it’s a learning process! Kids can start very young. But watch them near fertilizers if you use them, and of course near the tools and garden in general. You know they want to rip out all those pretty flowers that are just starting to pop out! And don’t holes go everywhere? You want to keep the shovels right next to you, and consider getting a small, child friendly set for your little one.
As the seeds or plants grow, kids will learn how this happens and where their food comes from. Try to choose a variety of plants that will produce all season long, some will go into fall as well. Growing a garden is an ideal hands-on lesson in life science, ecology and nutrition, and will be a lot more fun for both you and them then just reading about it. Not to mention it is an ongoing project with edible rewards! Once your plants are ready to be picked, bring your kids as you pluck the fruits (and veggies) of your labor. Then, in the kitchen, let your kids help choose recipes they like that incorporate the foods that your family has grown together. Make sure you take lots of photos from the very first to the end stages, and even the big meal- then you can create a fun scrapbook together and remember your very first garden together.