5 Ideas for Gardening Fun with Kids

 

Guest post by Wren from finchnwren.com.

Have you ever considered that gardening is a wondrous way to introduce your children to the miracles of God’s creation—and family fun?

5 Ideas for Gardening Fun with Kids @hsbapost

We’ve been a gardening family for 4 years, when a friend gifted us with a small raised garden bed and soil. We purchased zucchini and yellow squash seeds, and were astonished at the harvest! Since then, our garden has expanded every year, with great rewards. And involving your kids in gardening is amazing on so many levels. Here are 5 of my favorite ways…and don’t forget, you can create unit studies out of all of these!

1. Choosing Seeds

Taking your children to the garden center to choose the season’s seeds is the perfect way to start. Seeing the seeds and the potential through their eyes can help us step way out of our comfort zones.

5 Ideas for Fun Gardening With Kids ~ Choosing Seeds

This is a moment where your vision and dreams for your summer garden can run wild. This year, we picked old favorites and brand new ones, like the mouthwatering mini-watermelon seeds! Of course, you’ve got to keep in mind the length of your growing season, but if you watch the planting dates for your region and stick to that, you can still reap a great and varied harvest.

We’re starting most of our garden from seed this year, and we’re planting beets, basil, zucchini; summer squash, sugar snap peas, and carrots; garlic, watermelon, cucumbers. We’ll be buying tomatoes to put in later once the freeze warnings are over.

2. Creating a Garden Plan

This year, we’re trying square foot gardening. We have 3 raised beds, plus two large containers to work with. I discovered that with square foot gardening, I can plant a LOT, simply by dividing our beds into 12” squares. For example, did you know that you can plant 16 radish plants in one square foot? Or 16 carrots? Or, 8 sugar snap pea plants? My son made a planting guide for our large raised bed in Paint. Great way to combine art and gardening!

5 Ideas for Fun Gardening With Kids ~ Make a Garden Plan

Your raised bed can yield so much more than you’ve ever imagined, if square foot gardening is new to you. You just need a bed plus wooden slats to place across it in grids, to segment all your square foot spaces. It is fun AND exciting!

3. Birds & Bees

There are some insects whose presence is integral to a garden’s success. And others which might not be as necessary, but will still add value and health. Bees, of course, are vital for pollination. I have several beds which run along our fences that are planted with bee-friendly plants. What’s even better is that they bloom over the course of the summer, so that the bees always have flowers to visit.

Russian sage is super-low maintenance, and bees swarm ours every summer. Our peonies don’t last quite as long, but their sticky nectar and heavy fragrance draw the bees beautifully. Last summer, I needed a little extra on one side of our garden, so I planted catmint. It’s very pleasing to the little pollinators as well. You can also try bee balm, lavender, basil, mint….just Google “plants bees love” and see what will work in your area!

One of our summer joys is watching the hummingbirds in our backyard. Did you know that hummingbirds also do some pollination? I was pretty surprised at this, but I know they love the Russian sage and find our tomato cages a wonderful perch. You can find inexpensive hummingbird feeders at your local discount stores, and make your own nectar at home. (Just heat 1 part granulated sugar with 4 parts water over medium heat til sugar dissolves. Let cool, then pour into feeder.)

5 Ideas for Fun Gardening With Kids ~ Hummingbird

 

4. Creating and Cooking

We know that kids who grow their own vegetables are much more likely to eat vegetables than those who don’t. I don’t know if your children are veggie-lovers or not, but how cool would it be to create and cook recipes with your kiddos, right out of your garden? We’ve made zucchini pizza rounds, zucchini-tomato gratin, zucchini breads and cakes, squash casserole, stir-fried beef with sugar snap peas…the list is endless! And that’s not including just eating veggies out of hand. My son even created a pasta and squash recipe several years ago that we still eat, which you can find here:  “Jackson’s Amazing Fettucine with Sauteed Squash and Parmesan

 

5 Ideas for Fun Gardening With Kids ~ Cooking

5. Sprouting

This is more of an indoor activity than an outdoor, but our family loves growing sprouts. This time, not to plant…but just to eat! Sprouts are a wonderful snack, and make a lively addition to sandwiches and salads as well. We have a kitchen seed sprouter, but you can sprout with just a mason jar! My son loves these and I love the fabulous antioxidants and fiber they provide. We’re currently sprouting alfalfa, radish and clover.

5 Ideas for Fun Gardening With Kids ~ Sprouts

There’s so much to love about backyard gardening. You can do it even if you have a teeny tiny space. And involving your family in it…priceless!
How do you involve your family in your gardening? This summer, Kemi from Homemaking Organized http://www.homemakingorganized.com/ and I are hosting a garden linky! Come and link up at Garden Party!

 

Finch n Wren

Wren blogs with her sister Finch at finchnwren.com. She and her husband met on the mission field and still love hearing about God’s work around the world. Wren has homeschooled their only son since the beginning. They love family fun, the beach and great comic book heroes.

 

 
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10 Children’s Books about Rainbows

It’s March and that means…it’s time for lots and lots of rain. But, the great thing about rain is that you also get to see plenty of rainbows! As the days get longer and we enjoy more sunlight, we’ll (hopefully) get to observe these beautiful phenomena with our kids.

So, this is a great time of year to talk about rainbows! And what better way to introduce them to our kids than with books? Today, we’re sharing 10 children’s books that are all about rainbows!

10 Children's Books about Rainbows

What is a Rainbow?

A rainbow is actually an optical illusion that occurs when sunlight is refracted (bent) through water droplets in the air. As you probably know, the colors of the rainbow are Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet (ROYGBIV). Do you know why red is always listed first?

It’s because the color red has the longest wavelength of all colors, so it bends the least. As a result, it always appears on top of the rainbow. By contrast, violet bends the most, so it has the sharpest curve. That makes violet the lowest color in every rainbow. Neat, huh? You can find out more about the science of rainbows from the NOAA.

10 Children’s Books about Rainbows

And now, 10 children’s books about rainbows! These are great for kids of all ages and include fiction and nonfiction selections.

A Rainbow of My Own by Don Freeman

All the Colors of the Rainbow by Allan Fowler

What Makes a Rainbow? by Betty Ann Schwartz

The Rainbow Book by Kate Ohrt

Chasing Rainbows by Tish Rabe, Aristides Ruiz, and Joe Mathieu

Elmer and the Rainbow by David McKee

Rainbow Stew by Cathyrn Falwell

The Colors of the Rainbow by Jennifer Moore-Mallinos and Marta Fabrega

Geckos Make a Rainbow by Jon J. Murakami

Ruby’s Rainbow by Grosset & Dunlap Books

For even more spring learning fun, check out our free Busy Bee Scissor Skills Printables, free Spring Flower Flashcards, and our unit study “All About Flowers” at Look! We’re Learning!

Do you have any great children’s books about rainbows to share? Post your suggestions in the comments!

 
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Selena (9 Posts)

Selena is a homeschooling graduate, a former tax accountant, and a homeschooling mom to four super special kids. She and her husband, Jay, practice eclectic homeschooling to keep their ADHD learners engaged! You can keep up with Selena by following her blog Look! We're Learning! on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google Plus.


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Groovy Lab in a Box: A Science Kit That Includes EVERYTHING!

My kids absolutely love doing science experiments – and so do I! What we don’t love is having to find all the needed supplies, and forgetting something, and then not actually doing the experiment because we didn’t pick up the last supply at the store.

That’s why I was SO excited to find out about Groovy Lab in a Box! They have everything – and I mean everything – you need to complete a science experiment, all in one convenient package!

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From the website…

“Groovy Lab in a Box includes everything you need to complete all activities, inquiry experiments, tests, and engineering design challenges. Including the basics. You never have to go looking for popsicle sticks or straws or pipe cleaners ever again. If the activity, experiment, test, challenge, or inquiry requires a specific tool or supply, it’s in the box!”

I love that! No more hunting the house trying to find something that will work – because it all magically arrives on your doorstep! Go here to read more about what’s inside each box.

Not only that, but you can choose to have one groovy lab box mailed to you (hurry, they’re going fast!) or you can sign up for a subscription plan!

GroovyLabBirdKit

{All-inclusive “For The Birds” science kit!}

I’m also thrilled to announce that Groovy Lab in a Box is giving away one science experiment kit to a Homeschool Blog Awards winner!

Here are the details:

  • One Prestigious Parents’ Choice® Award winner Groovy Lab in a Box – Lunar Launch Box
  • Engineering Design Challenge: Can you design, build, and launch a rocket which travels the farthest vertical distance?
  • Investigate Potential Energy and Kinetic Energy. Build Balloon Rockets, Paper Rockets, Foam Rockets, and a rocket that you engineer and design.
  • Emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math)
  • Extended learning through our exclusive online portal.
  • STEM•ist /stĕmʹĭst/ n. Expert in applying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Explorer, creator, inventor…STEMist!
  • For STEMists ages 8 and up

Thank you, Groovy Lab in a Box!

To connect with Groovy Lab in a Box so you don’t miss information about deals, sales, new products, science tips, and fun ideas, you can visit their blog, follow them on Twitter, like them on Facebook, or follow them on Pinterest.

And I’d love to know – if none of the science kits were sold out, which one would you choose?

 

Davonne (16 Posts)

Davonne Parks is a married Christian homeschool mom who began teaching her children at home in 2009. She blogs about cultivating a heart for motherhood, as well as organization and simplicity, at DavonneParks.com. Davonne believes that some of life’s richest moments happen when we embrace the beauty of imperfection as we extend grace to ourselves and others. She’s written two eBooks, “101 Time-Saving Tips for Busy Moms” (free to her blog subscribers) and “28 Days to Timeliness: Tips and Confessions from a Semi-Reformed Late Person.”


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