Nature is waking up from her winter snooze and I must admit we here in South Africa are very very lucky when it comes to winter. Just having spent 2 years in the UK and enduring months and months of grey, it was a welcome change to be able to see the sun during winter even when it was cold. There is just something about a blue sky that lifts one’s mood.
As the weather gets warmer and the plants move into their growing cycles again, it is the perfect time for us to get outside with our kids. One of the very best ways to teach children a love of nature and to get them involved in the green and eco vibe, is to get them planting.
Helping kids understand the connection between the food they eat and the growing process is so important; it naturally leads to discussions about the environment and teachable moments where kids are receptive to learning as their natural curiosity is sparked.
Discussions about how plants grow, climate, weather, saving and using water wisely, organic gardening and the harm of pesticides, soil and making compose and so much more can all come out of helping kids plant and care for and watch their food grow.
We need to trust that kids are able to understand and absorb so much more than we usually give them credit for. My daughter and I have recently been discussing photosynthesis. She is 4 and does not understand the whole complex process but she grasps enough to get the basic idea. As children ask questions be ready to answer them and don’t worry about them being too young to understand, if they are asking and you explain it in age appropriate language there is nothing that they can’t learn. If they ask something you don’t know Google it together or go to the library and get books on plants and growing food.
I suggest growing organic food rather than just flowers as it gives them a sense of responsibility and is often the way to get previously reluctant kids to eat fruit and vegetables that they would not touch before. There is a pride in what they have grown themselves.
I live in a small garden flat with my 2 kids, and a very little garden, so one does not need a lot of space to start growing. We do all our veggie and herb gardening in pots in and around the house. Each kid has their own watering can and they help to care for what we grow.
At Earth Babies we have joined the planting season campaign on the 22 September. “Planting Season is a collective campaign by Majestic Interactive and JasonsGarden.com with a shared mission: to facilitate a collective reconnection between people and the earth by getting 1,000,000 people to start growing their own food. 22ndSeptember 2009 has been named the first Planting Day and thousands of people all over South Africa will join remotely to all plant on this day.”
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