HOW TO: Garden with a toddler?!?
Instilling a love for gardening in our children is a TOP priority for Travis and I. This summer Brooke is old enough to really enjoy and participate in the gardening process. She loves helping out in the garden! Now when I say helping here are some examples of how she loves to help...
*Picking flowers from our zinnia bed to smell, followed by a satisfied "ahhhh"
*Picking dandelions from the grass near the garden and blowing the seeds with joyous fits of giggles
*Picking berries from our raspberry and blackberry beds - this is her favorite, we call her the Berry Monster!
To any parents out there, does this sound familiar of your toddlers in the garden? Helpers AKA Tornadoes! Now although it may seem like gardening with toddlers is more work than it is worth, watching her learn about and engage with nature is so awesome we love it when she helps... even if it means it takes us twice as long. Now don't get me wrong, there are definitely times I have had to stop myself from feeling frustrated and remember the importance of learning through play and exploration when I am trying to harvest raspberries only to find a little Berry Monster behind me eating berries out of the bowl faster than I can pick. <Insert Deep Breath> What seems like my little Toddler Tornado wreaking havoc in the garden is really just an eager 1.5 year old excited about experiencing nature - how much better does it get!?!
So, next time you're debating bringing your own children, neices, nephews, grandchildren, or neighbor children into your garden think about this...
*When they pick flowers they are really learning about and showing appreciation for nature's beauty.
*When they blow dandelion seeds they are really gaining an understanding for seed dispersal in nature.
*When they are picking berries they are learning so many things from how we can grow some of the most delicious foods to color identification when picking only the ripe berries.
"Teaching children about the natural world should be seen as one of the most important events in their lives." -- Thomas Berry