Invite a little more life in by planting something green with your kids’ help.
It’s the perfect time of year to get out into the yard and beautify, why not enlist your little helpers? Gardening and yard work are fun, healthy and satisfying.
Its worth mentioning that April 15th is Earth Day, and this is a golden opportunity to instill some sensible and sustainable values in our children.
To get a little motivation, visit http://www.kidsgardening.org/ which is a fantastic resource through the National Gardening Association. This site is loaded with tips on how to engage kids in the back yard. “Gardening grows environmental stewardship. Participating in school gardening helps young people learn to value, protect, and conserve our environment and all the creatures we share it with.” On point!
Think about where you want to plant and how much shade, sun and drainage those plants will get. Do a little research to figure out what wants to thrive in your neck of the woods. Take into consideration your water usage and go for heartier varieties and desert plants that can tolerate less water and temperature fluctuations.
Take a trip to the nursery where your children can pick out some special flowers or their favorite veggies.
Letting them be part of the preparation and decision making builds anticipation for the project. And remember: keep it simple; don’t level your whole yard with the idea that you are going to re-landscape. Pots and window boxes do the trick too, especially if you live in a condo or apartment.
Kids love to rake leaves, dig up weeds, learn how to use the shovel and move the dirt around. Popsicle sticks and a marker will do the trick so you can remember what you have planted.
One of the other lessons in the garden project is maintenance. Put it on the calendar which days the plants need water, plant food or pest spray (use the organic kind, its essentially soap that wards off critters.)
When those baby shoots start to come up, the flowers bloom and the first sweet peas and strawberries arrive, your little one will have a proud moment knowing that their hard work made it happen. Its our job to make sure, in a world where devices and distractions abound, that the next generation knows how to nurture their own little piece of the planet.
For more information on the benefits of gardening for children (and grown ups!) check out the children and nature network: http://www.childrenandnature.org/news/detail/fact_sheet_summarizes_benefits_of_gardening_for_children/