Q: WHY TEACH KIDS TO GARDEN?
A: Because we can't afford
Q: DOES IT REALLY MATTER IF KIDS KNOW HOW TO GROW FOOD? I MEAN, WHEN WILL THEY ACTUALLY USE THAT KNOWLEDGE?
A: Whether they have a garden or not when the grow up, it is SO IMPORTANT to give them an appreciation of their food and a respect for the people who grow it.
This being said, there is nothing more TERRIFYING than teaching a room full of 23 children (all under the age of twelve) how to plant seeds. Sounds pretty simple, right? All you have to do is fill up
a cup with wet dirt, put a seed in it, and take care of it. Easy, right? ... RIGHT?
Recently, I visited one of the after school day care programs to teach children there how to start seeds and take care of them. I do this each spring and it is always a very rewarding experience because the kids appreciate trying something new and getting a little messy in the process.
***It is also important to note that kids have the amazing, incomprehensible ability to amplify their voices 20x's louder than mine while thrashing about in a massive swarm of arms, legs, and dirt. Children travel in swarms, did you know that?
This is not to assume that children are always crazy and difficult teach! They absorb information like little sponges and remember every. thing. you. say... so be careful. Besides, kids are generally interested in how things work as well as what it takes to grow a big pumpkin, an itty bitty pepper, or a pretty petunia. Out of the massive swarm of children, a few of the kids took a big interest in gardening and asked me all sorts of questions about how things grow.
Children who had experience with gardening told me stories of growing cucumbers with their grandmas, picking oranges from their old backyards in Puerto Rico, and finding HUGE worms in between carrots and beets.
Gardening has a lasting affect on kids which (hopefully) carries on into their adulthood.To this day, I still remember weeding around the hostas with my mom and carrying stones from the woods and laying them around the garden beds. Gardening is a life long process and you never stop learning and teaching others about it.
IN CONCLUSION. Teach your kids how to grow food. Teach your friends' kids how to grow food. Teach your friends', friends' kids how to grow food! And don't be scared of swarming children as it is just their natural habitat... but do bring earplugs.
|An image from Penrose Kid's Art Garden in Detroit.|
ALSO! Encourage kids to make art in the garden. Have then paint stones to look like bugs, beetles, or bundt cakes. Cut up old garden hose and paint them to look like snakes! Make sculptures out of paper and mud and watch as the water washes them away. Use old broken dishes and make a mural. There are so many ways to engage children in the garden; all we have to do is use our creativity!