Home

A Child's Garden

Additional Reading

A garden - the perfect, outdoor summer classroom. In a medium that is hands-on and does not have to be censored, a garden can keep your child learning and curious during the summer and possibly sow the seeds of a lifelong hobby, interest, or even vocation. Of course, science is the obvious "course" in the garden with botany, biology, horticulture, and ecology lessons already prepared. Math, art, literature, and even social studies activities can also be integrated into your gardening "curriculum."

It's all there in your own backyard if you have a garden. If not, you can create container gardens using interesting finds and recycles for containers. Even old shoes and boots make interesting containers.

Less expensive than video games, with a garden, you actually get a return on your investment (a lesson in economics!) with the beauty and fragrance of flowers, the harvest of fresh vegetables and the pride of creating and growing a garden. Family togetherness and serenity are additional, intangible benefits from garden activities.

A child's garden is just that - a place for a child to observe, explore, and interact with nature in its purest form. It doesn't have to be large; in fact, small is good, so that it is not overwhelming or intimidating. As the child and his or her interests grow, then the size of the garden can grow also. Child-sized garden tools help master the chores in the garden, making them more like fun than work. Even old spoons can be "'borrowed" for small hands to use for digging.

Getting started is simple - a small plot of dirt or potting soil, plastic pots or clean yogurt containers, and a variety of seeds are the basics - nothing elaborate or expensive. A garden is not for instant gratification. Instead, it encourages and teaches patience as we check, double check, and even triple check to see whether the seed treasures we buried in the soil have peeked out from their hiding places. However, fast-sprouting, quick-growing plants are best for younger children to maintain their interest. Sunflowers, radishes, marigolds, lettuce, gourds, beans, and nasturtiums are good for first-time, eager gardeners and are almost fail-proof.

A seed is a promise for the future. From all sizes like specks of dust, barely visible to the unaided eye, to baseball-size coconuts, they hold all the genetic information and nutrients to help fulfill the promise. Just add soil, water, light and TLC. Tiny seeds can become jumbo, heavy weight tomatoes or huge pumpkins that can grow into the pump"kings" of the garden.

Garden "families" that have giant as well as miniature members are fun for children and can teach them the variety and diversity of similar plants. Tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelons, pumpkins, and zinnias all have both jumbo and pixie sizes, plus they are easy to grow. Children can practice measuring and weighing pumpkins, watermelons and tomatoes during their growth cycles, while the prolific zucchini is especially noted for its length. There are many contests for the biggest specimen of these plants where young gardeners can show off the fruits of their labor. At the other extreme are the miniatures - patio or bite size tomatoes, "baby" basketball-sized watermelons, and mini pumpkins that just fit a small hand.

These plants also provide other fun diversions for children in the garden. Some boast nontraditional colors like orange tomatoes and ghostly white or gray pumpkins. Melons, pumpkins, squash, and cucumbers are excellent for "tattoos" or autographs. Just gently scratch your name or a design in the fruit when it is small. As it grows, the "tattoo" or signature will grow and expand with the plant.

The fast-growing sunflower can become a yardstick to compare a child's height with the sunflower's growth. When the sunflower head is just taller than the child, mark his or her height on the stem with a bright ribbon. Watch as the ribbon grows higher and higher as the sunflower eventually towers above the child. Sunflower heads also make interesting autumn decorations and good bird feeders to invite birds to your yard in the autumn and winter.

Every child needs a magical, enchanted place to daydream, imagine, and make-believe. A towering teepee of beans, nasturtiums or any fast-growing, climbing plants provides a perfect child's retreat. A simple frame can be made with six bamboo poles or even broom sticks approximately six feet long. Plant the base firmly in the soil in the shape of a "C." The opening will be the door. Tie together at the top with rope or old nylon hose. Plant beans, nasturtiums, morning glories, or other vining plants at the base of each pole. For an "indoor - outdoor" carpet, plant shade-loving grass seed inside the teepee and you have a shady retreat perfect for picnics, games, tea parties, reading, or even a camouflage fort.

The garden is a dynamic microworld that changes seasonally, daily, and even hourly. Simple activities from the "good old days" like a garden scavenger hunt, fashioning flower dolls from hollyhock blossoms, crafting miniature boats from pea pods, or making seed collages and pressing flowers can encourage creativity and pass the summer hours while making pleasant memories for the future.




Tips and Tricks for Introducing Solids to Your Baby
Helping your child move from breast breast milk or formula to solids is a milestone for both you and your baby. However, it can be challenging for some parents. Here are some tips and tricks I've compiled for introducing solid foods to your...
...Read More

Are We There Yet? A Survival Kit for Summer Vacation
Make this your best family vacation yet by using a little pre-planning designed to keep everyone smiling! Does summer travel with the kids send chills down your spine? Relax! Make the travel as much fun as the destination and your kids...
...Read More

Win Your Own Lotto!
I. WIN YOUR OWN LOTTO When people talk about enrichment, they are usually thinking of financial enrichment. (Show me the money!) But, we can enrich many other aspects of our lives too such as: spiritual, mental, physical, and social, as...
...Read More

What Will You Do with the Rest of Today?
Article Title: How to Turn Two Questions into a Life Changing Experience Author Name: Doug C. Grant Contact Email Address: doug @dougcgrant.com Word Count: 631 Category: Motivational/Inspirational Copyright Date: 2002...
...Read More

Feeling Funky?
What can you do to make yourself feel more successful NOW even if you feel you aren't, even if you are so far away from where you want to be? Whenever I was down, I used to think I just needed to wait it out. I used to think I needed to dig down...
...Read More



The Great Awakening Menopause

Love Uncles and Etymology

The Dangers of a Me First Marriage

Making Homemade Gizmos For Fun

Breeding Gouramis

25 Christmas Stocking Filler Ideas For Your Teenage Girl

Western Wedding Done Dirt Cheap

Ten Terrific Ideas For Rainy Day Fun

Make a Valentine for Mom Digital Cameras Make it Easy for Kids to Preserve Memories

What Do You Do When Baby Outgrows His Clothes

How to Start a Successful Home Jewelry Business

Kenna Julie and David are Moving

Quick Tips to Surprise Mom this Mothers Day

ANTIQUE MAPS PRINTS UNIQUE HOLIDAY GIFTS WITH A PERSONAL TOUCH

10 Ways to Curb Your Snacking Binges

Need a great Family or On Your Own Winter Activity

How To Rise Above The Clutter In Your Brain

Summer Time and The Livins Easy

How Can I Teach My Toddler to Share

Pastimes Popularity is Growing By Leaps and Bounds