Plant a spring garden with your child
-- by Susan Dunn
Plant a Spring Garden with Your Child
by susan dunn
Spring is the perfect time to plant a garden with your child. It’s educational, good exercise, a great bonding activity, and great for self-esteem.
Little hands need the right sized tools or they’ll be frustrated, and “toys” are not sturdy enough. Gardens4Kids ( http://gardens4kids.com ) offers a great package including 3 child-sized gardening tools, a set of gardening gloves and a child-sized watering can.
They also offer a gardening kit with tips for planting with children. It contains: seed packages with beginners’ instructions, materials and a materials-needed checklist, a planting map, a harvest guide activity worksheet and calendar for predicting harvest dates, plant labels, a waterproof pencil, and 20 grid markers - http://gardens4kids.com .
Try planting a small plot around a theme – You could do a pizza garden with tomatoes and herbs. A salsa garden with hot peppers, onions and tomatoes. Or a a butterfly garden with bright flowers and butterfly “food” – see below.
MAKE A GRASS SNAKE CHIA-TYPE PET, OR SCARECROW
To make a grass snake, fill a sock with dirt and grass seed, place it in the sun and keep it damp. In 7-14 days, the ‘snake’ will have ‘hair’!
To make a chia pet, fill knee-high pantyhose with grass seed at the bottom, then moss and dirt. Tie it off, invert it and use buttons, pipe cleaners, felt, etc. to glue on features. Invert again and stick the loose end inside a soda bottle full of water. Put it in the sun, and in a few days, grass for the little guy’s hair.
To make a scarecrow, have you child lie down on a large piece of cardboard and trace an outline of him or her in a funny pose. Then cut out the “scarecrow.” Decorate with yarn, buttons, waterproof markers, googily eyes, fabric scarps, pipe cleaners, etc. Mount it on a stake available at crafts of hardware stores.
A bean tee pee brings great results and is easy to so. Use stakes, poles or bamboo poles 10-12’ long. Secure them into the ground in a 5’ circle, leaving room for a small entrance. Tie the tops together with heavy twine, duct or masking tape. Plant different kinds of string bean seeds (something that’ll grow in your region) at the base of the teepee, and in a couple of months, the teepee will be covered with beans, leaves and vines.
This is exactly what you’ll see in botanical gardens. Take a plastic pot saucer, sand and about 1 T. of cow or horse manure and an overripe piece of banana, apple or pear. Place sand and manure in saucer with small amount of water and add fruit. Voila! Butterflies will come!
SIMPLE BIRD BATH OR BIRD FEEDER
Here’s an idea for a simple and inexpensive bird bath or feeder. Use a tomato cage, anchoring it firmly in the ground. Put one plastic plan saucer inside the top ring of the cage. Plant vining plants such as nasturtiums or morning glory around the bottom. Fill the saucer with water for the birds, of poke a few holds in it for drainage and fill it with birdseed.
· Use a digital or throwaway camera to record progress in the garden and learn more about nature and photography.
· Place a rain gauge in the garden.
· Study the insects that come and what they do.
· Read about vegetables, fruits and flowers on the Internet.
· Be sure and don’t take “the sun” for granted. Water and sun and good soil are what gardening is all about.
· The garden will need to be tended and this teaches responsibility. It needs to be watered, fertilized and weeded. Establish a regular schedule for tending the garden.
©Susan Dunn, MA, Life & EQ Coach, http://www.susandunn.cc . Ms Dunn is a recognized expert in emotional intelligence and offers individual and executive coaching, Internet courses and ebooks for your personal and professional development. Career, parenting, success, relationships, leadership, stress management, resilience, midlife.
She trains and certifies EQ Coaches.