While I’m not a parent myself, I’m gathering from the parents around me that keeping the kids entertained at home at the moment is tough.
That’s why we thought we’d share an idea for an activity that can be done inside your home, and will keep the kids occupied not just for the next twenty mins, but possibly for a bit of time each day, until they can spend more time outside again.....
Now gardening with the kids can literally be as simple as planting a couple of seeds in a container next to the window-sill and getting them to water it each day, or, if you have a backyard, getting your hands really dirty and creating something extra special.
What gardening could do for you and the kids:
- Offer respite from the indoors, meaning more time in nature without breaking any rules.
- Teach you something new, even if that’s keeping one plant alive.
- Inject a bit of joy into these strange days. Simple pleasures like sprouting seeds can change your entire mindset for the day.
- Encourage bonding by introducing some new, positive topics of conversation.
- Act as a positive distraction.
- Reward you with a little bounty of food / flowers, which means you can both avoid the stores and gift some to someone who needs it.
1. Come up with a plan. Call a household/family meeting and get the kids to dream up and draw out a plan for the garden.
2. Find a sunny spot. Plants will need sun for at least six hours a day. “In the garden, there is no life without light”.
3. Good soil is a must. Good soil includes a bunch of tiny organisms, which feed and strengthen what you sow. “A house can’t be strong if it’s built on something weak, and the same holds true in the garden".
4. Make sure there’s plenty of water. Rain is the best drink for plants, but in it’s absence you can get in the stockpiling spirit and collect rainwater in buckets, use a kitchen tap, sprinkler or hose.
Once these are in order, the next phase can begin: get to work!
5. Decide what to plant and get some seeds. Seedlings for many different flowers and vegetables are low in cost and can be found at a local nursery, Bunnings or similar store (you can get this delivered in most case). The book suggests having some flowers like sunflowers and cosmos so that pollinators (butterflies, bees etc), will spread pollen from flower to flower and encourage even more things to bloom. This article has some great ideas for beginners about “what to grow”.
6. Order some tools. Depending on what you’re planning you might need to order some gardening tools while you’re doing that seedlings order, but this isn’t a must. Use what you have first.
7. Get planting!
Things to look out for:
- There’ll be bugs. Some are good and necessary but others might ruin everything, so don’t give up after the first fail (or any fail!). Problem solving is another way to keep the kids engaged and involved.
- Don’t let weeds take over. Weeds steal water, sunlight and nutrients so you’ll need to keep on top of them - yet another active, daily event for the kids.
- Animals will eat the lot. This one is for people who live on a property or where animals have access. You may need to put a fence up.
If you start now, imagine what you can create by the time we’re out the other side of this? A garden is hard work, but as Joanna reminds us, so is most of the good, important stuff in life, and those home grown flowers and food on your plates will make it all worth it.
We Are The Gardeners is a children’s book beautifully written by Joanna Gaines and illustrated by Julianna Swane, which holds rich life lessons and can also be enjoyed by adults. This book and similar children’s gardening books are available in Floreat’s online store.