Gardening with Youngsters
Get dirty with your kids! Gardening is a great activity to do with your children. It is not only fun, but has been shown to improve learning skills and promote healthier eating habits (not to mention the fact that it fosters environmentally responsible adults).
Studies have found that when we garden and learn to nurture other living organisms, we increase our scope of compassion, an especially important lesson for children. Spending time in the garden with your children has also been shown to promote bonding with parents and other adults, which is yet another reason to get out and get dirty in the garden with your kids!
Getting started is easy and there are a few tips that will guarantee a delightfully productive time with your little loves.
• Starting with the basics will help your child to understand how and why plants grow, so have children help you till soil, dig holes and plant flowers or veggies.
• Make sure to explain the necessities for growing healthy plants; they need water and plenty of sunshine, just like kids need water and food for their growing bodies.
• Once they’ve mastered the essentials of gardening, you can try more creative soil-filled activities like building a “special space” in the garden that is just for your child. Kids love to build forts and pretend, so working with them to construct a teepee or a little house for an imaginary friend can be a gratifying and bond-forming summer project. Use materials that you have in your backyard like pavers, bark and pinecones to tailor the special space to your child’s desires. This type of play stimulates the rich imagination in our children’s burgeoning minds and encourages a sense of respect for the environment—important to acquire at an early age.
• Strive to be completely present and engaged during this precious time with your budding little gardeners and you’ll certainly come away with more than just sore knees and dirty fingernails—you will create lasting memories as well as pretty flowers and homegrown food to fuel your bodies.
ADVENTURES IN STRAWBERRY PICKING: TUBBS BERRY FARM
Tubbs Berry Farm is a small, family-run farm in Twin Falls that offers strawberry and raspberry picking in the summer, as well as a pumpkin patch and corn maze in the fall. They also offer beekeeping, soap making and “Farm School” classes. The berries (as well as everything else) are grown chemical-free and are great for making into jams or freezing for cool treats.
Tubbs' small farm store sells delicious homemade jams, honey and eggs from their free- range chickens, picked by eight-year-old Jafina, as well as handmade soaps, lotions and balms Heidi Tubbs makes on the farm. They also have a petting zoo, which includes turkeys, pigs, pygmy goats and a sheep named “Andrea.” So make sure to stop by Tubbs Berry Farm (please call first to make sure someone’s in the store and not out working the farm: 208.961.0969) to pick up some fresh berries and have some wholesome family fun . . . just don’t forget to say “Hi” to Andrea!-