Stuck at home with kids who are bouncing off the walls when not on their electronic devices? I’ve simplified some pages from two of my children’s garden books and prepared a brochure of gardening projects that can keep young people occupied and learning during the stay-at-home days – we’re all in this together, right?
Just drop me a line via the website contact form, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. (Your e-mail will not be used for any other purpose.)
These extracts give a flavor of the brochure:
Way before it was proven science, every time a new child was born into our family my parents would have a small fresh load of real topsoil – D-I-R-T – delivered to their big back yard, and for several years it was that kid’s personal pile to scatter with toys and garden tools. The yard looked like a giant fire ant colony but when the kids got older, they helped their granddad move the pile around to fill low areas and tree stump holes. What started out as personal playgrounds ended up as a lesson in taking responsibility and helping with community work.
If you’re looking for teachable moments, they are everywhere in the garden and close to home. Start by going outside – simply take children (any age) to look for stuff to talk about (wiggle your fingers in the dirt, uncover stuff in an old log, etc.). Take them to a locally-owned garden center or farmers market, ask questions. Take a neighborhood walk, go on a treasure hunt (leaf shapes, seeds, wildflowers), make a wildlife survey – mammals, birds, insects. Have children make special collections (young children need to learn to sort and arrange).
The Kids Gardening Brochure suggests some reliable plants for Southern gardens, most of which do well anywhere elsewhere.
Fast results are important with children, and they are more easily frustrated by failure. When it comes to growing plants successfully, preparing decent soil, fertilizing lightly, watering as needed, and keeping weeds under control are important, but nothing is more crucial than choosing the right plants in the first place – or learning ahead of time the practical lesson that not all plants will make it. Experienced gardeners understand this; kids need to learn it, too.
When choosing plants, indulge your children’s wishes, but include a few tried-and-true oldies they’ll learn to love growing.
The brochure lists over 40 projects, with easily-understood photos, including:
- Vine teepee
- Root new plants in water
- Make a small garden backdrop with a section of picket fence
- Make a weather station
- Flower arrangement in a potato
- Paint a face on an old sock, fill with soil, sow ryegrass seed “hair”
- Wind chime with painted metal cans
- Fairy garden by a tree trunk
- Design a dinosaur
- Paint slogans on rocks
- Make a wind sock
- Leaf art
- Green roof
- Birdhouse from a coffee can
- Three Sisters garden – corn, beans, squash or cucumbers
- Stumpery (old stump or log with woodland plants)
- Write a story
- Cardboard box fort
- Easiest-ever scarecrow
Many of the projects are illustrated with pictures. Again, If you’d like a copy, just drop me a line.