Kids + Nature =Time well spent

In today’s fast-paced world, most parents find it a task to keep children engaged and away from screen stimulus.
Here is one idea that is both simple, practical and especially rewarding. Build a small (or very small) garden. Neither expensive nor effort intensive – but extremely rewarding for you and your children.

What does Gardening teach children?

  • Responsibility: Children often start by watering their plants. They learn the impact of not doing so in a very visible way – their plants may not fruit or flower, may wither or may die. They learn that nothing comes without effort and they learn the importance of hard work and getting their hands dirty.
  • Interdependence:  In a garden set-up, most plants will not grow on their own – there require a bit of care and support. Children quickly learn to appreciate that we are all interdependent on each for our growth and survival.
  • Appreciation & Value: Children learn the value of the simple and ordinary things that they see around them. They appreciate the effort that goes behind the food they eat – and often begin to enjoy the food on their table.
  • Circle of Life / rising from failure: At harvest time, children learn to appreciate that everything reaches its natural end – and then the cycle of life restarts. Sometimes your plant will die! you start again – grow a new seed. Children intuitively learn to move beyond small hurdles and failures.
  • Remaining Engaged independently:  Just like music and sport, this activity enables kids to remain engaged on their own without needing external stimuli.
  • Wonder And Awe: Everything about nature and especially while growing a garden, children are exposed to a world of creativity, discovery, reasoning and exploring. That is fascinatingly important for their development as individuals as well as people belonging to a society.
  • Ecosystem: Children learn how nature attracts and repels things on its own accord and still maintains its synergy.

Things you need:

  • Pots – you could use almost any discarded and broken plasticware available in your homes.
  • Potting mix – You would need to buy some cocopeat along with home compost or some store brought nutrients.
  • Seeds  – much of what you need should be available in your kitchen cabinets. Ex: Fenugreek (methi), Mustard, Whole wheat, other grains, Potato eyes, etc.

How to go about it?

  1. Clean the pots.
  2. Fill the entire potting mix.
  3. Sow the seeds about 1 cm in the mix and cover-up.
  4. Watering in the initial stages needs to be done more judiciously.

Notes:

  • Seeds of fenugreek can be sown either in a vertical or horizontal line within the pot so when they sprout and grow they will look uniform and beautiful.
  • While the smaller seeds should look beautiful and ready within a week or ten days; potato and other plants will need more time. In a few months, you can explore digging out the potatoes!
  • Coco peat will naturally retain and supply the needed water. But overwatering will kill the plant.

Plant a variety of plants. Some cactus, bonsai, flowering plants, edibles, and others. Each one will bring to the forefront its joy in a different season. They will also attract butterflies, ladybirds, and other interesting insects or birds. In a month or two, the synergy of your mini garden and what it does to your mood after a tiring day’s work will be so worth all the involvement. it will make you believe and relish the simple joys of life minus the extra baggage that otherwise weighs us down.

Do share with us your pics and stories of how this experience was?

We will be looking forward to hearing from you …

Have a truly fruitful New year filled with many opportunities to turn the spaces around you green and vibrant!

Happy Gardening!

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