My 9 year old's planting bed is hosting pumpkins and California poppies. He chose the seeds this spring.
On a walk with some family members last week, my youngest started a game of identifying the plants we passed. After he got 9 out of 10 correct, I had to give myself a pat on the back.
Have I been patiently teaching my children botany? Quietly sitting down with them over photographs? Not at all. I've simply been putting them to work in the garden.
For the past several years, I have given my boys simple chores in the garden. While each has their own "garden bed" planted with various edibles and flowers, for the most part, the garden chores I give my children are designed to take things off of my plate. I know realize how, in sharing the work load, I am actually sharing my knowledge. Teaching life skills. Imparting information that cannot readily be learned in a book.
A garden pest becomes a child's pet - and your garden is the happier!
Here are some simple garden chores suitable for children of most ages:
- take out compost
- harvest fruits and vegetables (requires some light teaching before they understand when something is ripe)
- deadhead flowers
- pick pests off of plants (bonus, my kids usually keep the pests in bug jars for a few days to study them better)
- refill the bird bath
- water plants
- dig holes (the bigger the kid, the bigger the hole but most can dig small holes for seedlings)
- plant seeds
- weed (after you identify which ones are weeds and which are seedlings)
- spread mulch
- spread compost
- rake leaves
- feed livestock and refill their water (we have chickens)
- collect eggs
- help clean out the coop
Say what you will about my rowdy, rambunctious boys but they know when a radish is ready to be picked and the difference between a lady bug and a cucumber beetle! That doesn't even take into account all of the Vitamin D they are soaking up.
Do you put your children to work in the garden? What chores do they do and how has it changed them?
This post is part of the Homestead Barn Hop, Backyard Farming Connection, Maple Hill Hop, Green Thumb Thursday and Tuesday Garden Party.