Gardening with Children

One of the most important things you can do for your children is to help them connect with nature. We live in an era of nature deficit disorders due to technology’s influence on our lifestyles. In my own experience, I have had to be intentional about the time we spend outside.

It is easy for me to say, “Well, they are inside and reading. They are watching educational videos or building with LEGO bricks and other building toys. So, they are learning. Why go outside and deal with gnats, ticks, sunburn, and mud?”

Girl pulling weeds in garden

Our daughter helped pull many of the plants out of the garden bed.

Besides, we live five minutes from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and we get black bears in our yard. Also, coyotes, raccoons, deer, and opposum. We feel so much safer inside. Our windows are large, so we can see all these animals, plus birds and insects galore – almost like a National Geographic video right here in our backyard. It is so much safer and easier to stay inside.

Last week, my daughter found three ticks on herself, on three different days. Of course we are monitoring her symptoms and praying she does not get lyme disease. More precisely, we are looking for fever and a rash in the form of a round circle around the bite area (like a target).

Gardening Lite

I say all these things not to frighten you, but to let you know that we are aware of things that could go wrong in nature. And yet, we choose to go out in nature because it is good for their health and ours. We need fresh air, sunshine, and movement. Studies have shown creativity spikes after walks in nature and so does the function of the frontal lobe.

Boy pulls wagon with discarded plants

Our son hauled discarded plants to a small valley on our property.

Recently, I was inspired to do something with our garden bed. We have this 4’x8′ raised bed we planted back when our son was 1 – so ten years ago. I have tried my hand at planting veggies and we have had some moderate success with it. I just cannot motivate myself to start a veggie garden again – all that watering and weeding while gnats fly wildly into my eyes, ears, and mouth.

 

Breaking Up The Fallow Ground

So we left it fallow for a couple of years now, especially after our outside cat decided to use it as a litter box. Somehow I got inspired to make it into a flower bed. We have these seeds my husband picked up at Lowe’s and I engaged the kids in a bit of a cleanup operation.

Raking the garden bed

I raked the clean bed before they planted flower seeds.

We had fun, though it was incredibly hot and uncomfortable with all the gnats. But we got it done. As the flowers grow, I will post updates here. When I look out the window, the garden bed will not be an eyesore anymore and the cat can keep using it as a litter box. It’s a win-win.

What about watering? Well, the kids have promised to take up that job through the summer months, which puts them outside and teaches them about gardening, perseverance, and taking care of a plant. Plus, they get to spray each other with the hose. It’s a win-win-win.

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