Spending time outside with your children is a big priority, and with screens taking over their attention spans, it’s become even more difficult to get kids outside. Owning a playhouse or trampoline used to provide hours of fun, but with technology waiting inside, it’s hard to get kids playing, and playing is important to childhood development.
Not only that, but spending quality time with your kids can be challenging. You love your kids, of course, but relating to a six-year-old is not as easy as it might seem. Gardening offers a fun solution to both problems, as a fun activity that you can both do together, outside. Today, we’ll discuss some of the best gardening practices and activities for you and your kids.
Starting From Seeds
While it’s too late to get started this year for this method, starting your plants from seeds is an extremely rewarding, educational way of gardening. From vegetables like tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers to herbs like basil, mint, and even lavender, you can purchase seeds and get these started in early spring, keeping them indoors.
Though you’ll have to buy already growing plants if you wait till the growing season is over (early March to mid-April), it’s still worth knowing how it works. For best results, purchase seeds from a trusted, local source, then plant them in small containers with potting soil. You can even buy potting soil starter kits that will dissolve once you repot your plants, but you can also simply use things around the house, such as egg cartons.
Painting Pots and Other Planters
Even if you waited too long to start gardening from seeds this season, you can still have a great, rewarding experience doing so now. You can buy full plants from your local nursery or home supply store, and then get to work making a home for them. This is where the fun comes in.
You can plant your plants in virtually any container, so long as it has proper drainage. You and your kids could have a great time painting your pots to add some personality to them, or plant one of your plants in a mason jar, so that your children see the roots up close and personal.
Learning About Farming
As you garden, you can actually teach your children. They’re going to learn a lot from simply experiencing the act of gardening, as they help you plant herbs and vegetables and see how water and light leads to growth. But you can take it a step further, teaching them how farmers do this at a large scale, and how all food comes from growing plants just like this.
This is also good to keep in mind when you experience challenges and failures in the garden, which will absolutely happen – it’s impossible to avoid. Plants are vulnerable to everything from the elements, to disease, and to pests, and some of your produce will get damaged or even destroyed. While this is a setback, it’s also a teachable moment.
Using Your Crops in Recipes
One of the most rewarding things about gardening is actually using and eating the plants you grow. And it encourages clean, healthy recipes involving high-nutrient herbs and vegetables. From chopped basil that you can put on top of pasta to the tomatoes that go in that pasta, there’s no limit to what you can do. You can also encourage your kids to suggest trying certain ingredients in dishes, using their creativity along the way.
Along with the plants in your garden, you can set up objects that attract other types of wildlife to the backyard, allowing your kids to see and experience living creatures in their own backyard. One example of this is birdfeeders, but if you’re afraid of birds pecking at your produce, there are other options.
For example, did you know you can build your own butterfly feeder, drawing the helpful pollinators to your own home? Similarly, hummingbird feeders can be purchased for very cheap or you can make your own as well. These creatures are not only beautiful, they create growth by pollinating flowers and other plants.
In this time of continued social distancing, even as businesses reopen, it is more important than ever to find good, healthy activities at home so that you and your kids don’t fall into bad habits. We’re here for you to provide resources in pursuit of this goal. For questions about our learning centers and how we’re reacting to this time, submit a contact form and we will be happy to answer any questions!