Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thrifty Thursday~ Grow a Vegetable Garden With Your Kids


This is my daughter with my Dad picking the tomatoes last year in our garden.

One of the best gifts you could give your children is a sense of nature, patience, and an appreciation of work they've done themselves. An easy way to accomplish this is to teach your children vegetable gardening. All you need is a little bit of earth, some seeds, and water. Of course, you can add wonder, laughter, smudged faces and a good bath into the mix, to make your project even more memorable.

If you have the space available, do your vegetable gardening outside. With a sharp-edged shovel, you can turn cut a square of grass or sod, and ask your child to pull the sod away and set it aside it for composting - another great lesson in the cycle of nature that you can work on another day. Once you have bare earth, your child can help you turn the earth with a spoon until it's workable with your hands. Let your child place the seeds on the top of the earth, add water, and you've just taught your little one vegetable gardening!

What About Vegetable Gardening and City Living?

Even people who don't have backyards can do vegetable gardening. City balconies are the perfect place for plants to get some sun, and they make great displays until the vegetables are ready to eat. Instead of using a plot of earth, have your child fill a container with dirt you've bought from the store. You can even use a recycled margarine container and punch holes in the bottom for drainage. Your child can sprinkle on seeds, and help water the plants every day.

Vegetable gardening teaches children patience, because they have to wait for the seeds to sprout. After that, they can check how much the sprouts have grown every day, until the plants are full sized. But this can be long on little kids with short attention spans, so planting something new every week will keep the entertainment going all summer. Once the plants have bloomed, you can explain to your child how they will soon grow food, and your kids will be thrilled to finally see tiny tomatoes or green peppers on their plant's branches.

In today's throwaway society, returning to the olden days, when all the fruit and vegetable people ate came from their own hard labour can be satisfying. Showing children that what we buy in the store doesn't have to be the only option as to where we get our food instils a sense of responsibility they'll carry with them all their lives. When they grow older, they'll remember their vegetable gardening with fond affection, and they'll most likely share the experience with their own children.

Here are the benefits that gardening could easily provide the children with:

Science

In planting, children are indirectly taught the wonders of science like the plant’s life cycle and how human’s intervention can break or make the environment. They can have a first hand experience on the miracle of life through a seed. This would definitely be a new and enjoyable experience for the kids.

Life

Watching a seed grow into a tree is just as wondrous as the conception to birth and growth of a child. In time, kids will learn to love their plants and appreciate the life in them. Gardening could actually help simulate how life should be treated — it should be with care. The necessities to live will be emphasized to kids with the help of gardening – water, sunlight, air, soil. Those necessities could easily be corresponded to human necessities, i.e., water, shelter, air, food. By simply weeding out, one could educate how bad influences should be avoided to be able to live life smoothly.

Relaxation

Studies show that gardening can reduce stress because of its calming effect. This is applicable to any age group. More so, it stimulates all the five senses. Believe it or not, gardening may be used as therapy to children who have been abused or those who are members of broken homes. It helps build one’s self-esteem.

Quality Time with the Family

You can forget about your stressful work life for a while be soothed by the lovely ambience in the garden. You can play and spend quality time with your children. You can talk while watering the plants or you can work quietly beside each other. The bottom line is, always do what you have to do, together with your kids. You might discover a lot of new things about your child while mingling with them in your garden.

Let kids become aware of their environment’s needs. And one way to jumpstart that environmental education may be through gardening. It’s hitting two birds with one stone — teach them to respect life while you bond with them.



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