My parents were always in the garden as I was growing up in Arizona. We had lemon, orange and grapefruit trees and an extensive flower garden. Every year, my father would sit down with me and ask me what flowers I wanted in my special corner of our yard. To this day, it’s one of my favorite memories of growing up. I truly believe that if we want children to flourish, we need to foster their love of the earth before we ask them to save it. I love getting our two girls excited about being outdoors and in nature! Here are a few ways that we incorporate this way of thinking into our everyday lifestyle:
- Create a fairy garden in your yard. It doesn’t have to be extravagant, just a space that they can take care of outside. We’ll leave little garden treasures, flowers and new additions to the space at the beginning of the season.
- Give them their very own plant to take care of and make it part of their weekly chore list. We teach them how to water, fertilize, prune and move the plants around to find the best sunlight. You’ll be surprised how excited and proud they are to see it flourish under their watchful eye.
- Play with your food! This is a big one for our family! I think it’s so important that healthy eating is established at a young age so why not make it fun? I’ve found that if you have fruit and veggies out and accessible, then your kiddos are more likely to go grab one and graze throughout the day. We’re constantly creating and crafting over here and one of our favorite activities is to break out the non-toxic paint and have some fun. My girls love to paint fun designs on bananas, mangoes, pineapples, etc. We also have a pineapple garden on the side of our home and the painted tops are fun to look at, too!
- Speaking of food, herb gardens are a great way to introduce farm-to-table living. We have an herb garden in our Florida room that the girls are responsible for during the year. Every Friday, we have them research a simple recipe that incorporates the herbs in our greenhouse. We assist them in harvesting, prepping and using the herbs in the recipe that they’ll make for our family dinner. This is one of my favorite ways to get children excited about nature, as they see the entire process from seedlings to table.
- The best way to beat boredom for free around our home is what we call ‘Foraging Foliage Faces.’ I’ll have the girls go outside and gather leaves, flowers, grass, etc. and create faces from their treasures on our driveway. I’m always so amazed at the beautiful creations they make every time. I take and print pictures of the faces they’ve made and hang them up in our playroom. I’ve noticed they’ll naturally gravitate to doing this fun activity when my husband and I are outside doing yard work. It’s a great way to pass the time!
- Get them involved in the local garden communities. My girls have been members of the ‘Little Bugs Club’ over at Rockledge Gardens for years. The programs are super affordable and something they look forward to during the season!