Are you looking for activities and hobbies to do with your children this summer? Start a summer garden! It can be as easy or as complicated as you want it to be. There are many, many options when it comes to gardening. Gardening will bring many educational opportunities to your family, and will produce quality, nutritious food in the process! Here are a few tips to get you started.
Choose type of garden
There are different methods of gardening, and you need to decide which will work best for your family. Have your children research the different methods, and let you know which way they think would work best. Let them be very involved in the whole process. The more they do, the more they will learn.
Different methods include: raised beds/square foot gardening, vertical gardening, tilled rows, and container gardening. Or if you have the funds and the time to learn, you could try hydroponic gardening.
If you decide to build garden boxes, let the kids help as much as possible. This will help teach math and construction skills!
Choose a location
Most plants need at least 8 hours of sunlight a day, so make sure your garden spot receives plenty of sunlight. If you don’t have a location that gets full sun, have your children find out which plants grow well in part shade. Also, be mindful of pets. You may want to build a small fence around your garden if you have dogs or free ranging chickens, as they could destroy your young plants.
Choose type of plants/seeds
Are you going to use heirlooms or hybrids? Which plants need to be started from seeds? Which should you buy as plants?
Have fun and make art with the garden!
Make a teepee out of cane poles, or some sort of tall stick, and plant green bean seeds around each stick. As they grow up the poles, they will form a green bean teepee! This is something we will be doing this summer.
You can also plant sunflowers in a square, leaving space for a door, and they will grow into a sunflower playhouse. This will amaze and thrill your children. What’s more fun than playing in a house made of sunflowers?!
Another fun tip: you can take the in-tact bottom part of an organic head of lettuce, or celery, and put it in a bowl of water. Place in a sunny location and change the water every day or two. It will start to grow. Once it grows a bit, you can plant it in your garden. This is a lot of fun for kids to do!
Consider having your children keep a garden journal to keep track of which plants you grow each year, how well they produce, things you learned, what worked well and what didn’t, etc. This will help you to plan better for next year’s garden, and will really help increase the educational experience for your children. They may become master gardeners in a few years!
If you have several children, it may be fun to give them complete control over one vegetable each. They would have full responsibility for caring for those plants; planting, weeding, watering, and picking the produce. If they’re old enough, or if applicable, they could also be responsible for preserving their vegetable, by canning them, dehydrating them, or freezing them. They could learn all 3 methods, and find out which method works best for their particular veggie.
Gardening provides endless opportunities to learn! These include:
- Hard work
- Working together as a family
- Research skills
- Planting and caring for seeds/plants
- Responsibility; the garden must be cared for regularly, or it will die out.
- They learn where food really comes from, and gain the ability to provide for themselves.
- Math; you need to plant things certain inches/feet apart from each other.
Easy plants for beginners include:
- Peas (require support)
- Green beans (require support if they’re pole beans)
About the Author
Alix St. Amant is a stay at home wife to a wonderful man, and mother to two sweethearts. She spends her days teaching her children about Jesus, keeping her home, and increasing her knowledge of herbs and essential oils. Alix is an herbalist, and has a passion for natural, healthy living, and loves to share that knowledge with others. She runs a small business out of her home selling her natural remedies, supplements, and body care products. You can also find her on Facebook and Pinterest.