Gardening with Children Jody Capehart It's getting warmer, and thoughts of flowers and gardens have begun to spring up. What a wonderful time to take your children outside and enjoy the sounds and smells of nature. It's fun to get dirty as you work with your children in the garden. My personal opinion is that we all need more activities like gardening instead of thinking we have to entertain children. There are delightful children's books on gardening. May I suggest you go to the library, book store or nursery, and begin to plan your garden? Which flowers or vegetables would do best in your soil? When should you plant them? What do you want it to look like? Will it be a practical garden or a pretty one, or both? Your child can learn wonderful lessons as you plan together. This provides an invaluable teachable time to help your child learn about: • • • • • • • • • • • •
What Plants Need to Grow How We Get Our Garden Ready How and Where Do We Plant Our Seeds or Bulbs? How Do We Make Compost? Weeding and Mulching Processes Garden Pests and Friends The Best Way to Move Plants How to Make a Bug Bottle Putting It All Together Herb Gardens Kitchen Gardening Eating and Serving What We Grow (One year at school, our garden produced award-winning squash. It was amazing how big they were! Truthfully, the children hated squash, but since they grew it, they got real creative with special ways to cook and prepare their squash and actually ate it!)
Aside from the obvious "perk" of spending quality time with your child, so many character traits can be nurtured through the gardening process. Let's name a few! • • • • •
Faithfulness: taking a look at some dirt and seeds and believing that God can mix these together to produce food and flowers! Patience: waiting for our seeds to get roots and begin to grow… Planning and Prudence: researching our options and planning a garden to best suit our soil and yard. Diligence: as we faithfully attend to our garden's ever-growing needs Responsibility: taking care of our garden, even when we don't feel like it! Have a great time gardening with your child!
Gardening is one of the most fulfilling experiences to do with your child. Your child can see “God in action” as seeds are planted and with loving care, begin to grow. As we prune our plants, we see healthier blossoms. As we water and weed our garden, our plants grow. Spiritual applications abound! Practical skills can be trained, time can be shared and at the end you will have a beautiful garden of flowers and/or a healthy garden of food to eat. Everyone will be blessed!