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Plant a garden with your kids and watch to see what grows

By Staff Report -   Apr 19, 2007

Remember how much fun it was to play in the dirt as a kid? You can relive those memories this spring by planting a garden with your child in recognition of Earth Day, April 22.

Mother Nature could use a few extra “green thumbs” to help out the planet, so in the spirit of doing something good for the environment, planting a mini-garden with your kids can be fun and educational.

If you don't exactly have a niche for gardening, make this a chance for both you and your kids to learn something new.

And if you are a sprawling-city urbanite, no worries! The outdoor space you have will determine how much "room" to give to your kids.

If you have a yard or community garden give each child a plot to work with.

If you live in an apartment, give each child a window sill.

It's really not that complicated. Plus it will give you a great opportunity to bond with your kids and soak up some fresh spring air!

You can get seedlings from people who already have plants, or pick up seed packets from most stores, including your local grocery store.

Plan your garden in advance by making a sketch of what types of plants you and your children want to plant.

Visiting a nursery can help your kids figure out what kind of plants they might be interested in growing - colorful flowers, a spiny cactus, or their own fruits and veggies.

For the very young, try planting sunflowers, zinnias or beans.

These sprout quickly and grow very fast. Take "before and after" pictures and put them in a scrapbook you can make with your kids.

When children grow plants, topics for conversation grow with them.

How do seeds work? How do the plants know what to grow up into?

The curiosity from watching a living thing grow, and sharing that experience can be stimulating for your child's development.

While you're planting seeds and seedlings, here are a few more questions that can be great conversation starters:

• How do plants grow?

• Why do living things seem to do better when they're cared for?

• What are some of the differences between a plant thatgrows in the desert like a catus and one that grows near a pond like a water lily?

Questions? Send an email to Heather R. Breaux at heatherb@heraldguide.com.

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