Children are naturally curious. Their little minds are like sponges. They absorb everything they see. But, when you ask a preschooler where food comes from, they will almost always answer “the grocery store.”
Society evolved to a place where both parents have careers. The cost of living was one reason. Another reason is that men and women wanted to expand their minds and experience life on their own terms. Families are always the top priority, but we changed the way we lived so that every member of the family could grow.
In our effort to expand, we began to take notice of the things our bodies need to be healthy, sharp-minded, fit, and happy. Strangely enough, looking forward to a healthy future, lead us to look back to our past. We need good food that is grown naturally.
Our children need to understand what it takes to create the food that nourishes their bodies. This lead to the trend of families growing their own vegetables, herbs, flowers, and greenery.
As we include our toddlers in the process, we teach them valuable lessons on nutrition, and they love the experience of gardening. They will also be excited to eat food that they from their own seeds.
Tip 1 – Young minds are impatient
Of course, some plants grow faster than others. Pre-schoolers are impatient little people. With this in mind, you should incorporate some plants that are fast growing. You will want plants that don’t require much attention.
Your seed vendor can help you with the selections, but here are a few of our favorites:
- Snow peas
Note: while watermelon and pumpkin take longer to grow, they grow so large that the kids enjoy tending them. These are the exception to the need for speed rule.
Tip 2 – Help them plant herbs
Children can decorate flower pots, coffee cans, (with drain holes) and scores of other containers to grow herbs. The plants are small, and the children can handle them with ease. They can be taught when to bring them indoors for protection and when to harvest them. They will have fun preparing them for seasoning their food.
Tip 3 – Give them tools
Of course, you have to be careful which tools you put in the hands of a preschooler. However, if you want them to feel like they are really part of the process, give them real tools. You can get colorful tools at the dollar stores. Make sure you teach them to clean them and store them when they are finished.
We would never tell you to lie to your child. But there are times when they need a little behind the scenes help. If you notice a pest feeding on their plant, it is okay to take care of it when the child is away. Snipping off some brown leaves to help the plant grow healthy is a good thing.
Remember, your child does not understand the threats that a garden will face. Until they are old enough to teach them to maintain the garden, give them a helping hand from time to time. This will keep them interested.
When their harvest comes in, and they have tasted the wonders of their work, encourage them to share their bounty. Make up a small gift basket for grandma, the teacher, or a neighbor. Let them enjoy their moment in the spotlight. After all, they did a pretty good job, and they deserve a little praise for their efforts.
Guest Author: Wendy of My Seed Needs