There are so many life lessons that you can share with kids/grandkids when working together in a garden. Click Here to read Part 1 if you missed it. There, you will find Gardening with Kids Lessons 1 – 4.
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Gardening with Kids Lesson 5: Anything Worth Having Needs Time and Attention
Have a little patience! Oh, this one is sooo HARD! We live in a world of instant gratification. We have fast food, instant messaging, on-demand movies, immediate answers to every question under the sun, and yes. . .even rapid-release Tylenol. We just hate to wait. And, if you think YOU hate waiting. . .it’s 10x worse for your grandkids!
Growing plants give us great steppingstones to learning to wait for the end result. There are just no shortcuts here! Remember that patience is a process. In the meantime, you have to have faith that you’ll get the result you’re after.
Along with patience is the lesson that you have to keep working while you wait. In all things, work is a basic principle of life. So many kids grow up thinking that there must be a way to get around having to work. However, there just is no substitute in the garden.
You can’t just plant the seeds and forget about them. It simply doesn’t work to go out the day before you want to harvest and dump 30 gallons of water on your garden and expect the plants to grow overnight. You have to put in the work every day during the growing season.
So along with all that, you can throw in a lesson or two about responsibility! These little plants can’t really take care of themselves. Yes, they may survive, but they may thrive better and produce more if someone is there to care for them. We talk a lot to the grandkids about how to take responsibility while we’re gardening with them.
Gardening with Kids Lesson 6: Make a Little Lemonade
Gardening with kids gives you the perfect platform to teach about dealing with things you can’t control. In the garden, it’s pests, drought, weeds, and critters that eat all the good stuff. We have all heard the saying that: “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” This encompasses two great values to teach your grandkids – giving a positive spin to a bad situation AND problem-solving.
Both of these commodities are in short supply with kids these days. . .and some adults as well! And in the garden – as in life – you need both those skills.
Frankly, I’m super surprised to discover just how many people can’t solve problems and much of this is due to a poor attitude (hint: giving things a positive spin). “I can’t!” “I don’t know how!” “I’m too dumb to figure that out!” Geez! If I only had a dime for every time I’ve heard this from the Littles!! I hear it all the time. These are truly life skills that NEED to be taught.
Gardening with Kids Lesson 7: You Reap What You Sow
Honestly, we all know that you can’t plant tomatoes seeds and expect corn to grow from them. However, in life, we don’t always recognize the benefits of this concept. So when you’re gardening with kids, you can take the opportunity to point out how their words and actions reap their experiences in life.
Life Lesson for My Grandson
One of my Littles was having trouble with a bully in his class at school. My grandson thought that the best way to handle this kid was to bad-mouth him and put him down in front of other kids. I think he thought it would give him the higher ground. However, it didn’t help.
When I had a moment, I talked to my grandson and told him that I had a project for him to help me with. I asked him to find out more about this boy. Well, he learned that this boy had a single mom who worked late each night. He also learned that this boy was having a lot of trouble with math.
When my grandson told me, I thought I would help him devise a plan. I told him that maybe this boy was having trouble in math because his mom wasn’t home after school to help him. So, I asked my grandson what he thought he might be able to do. Of course, his first reaction was to say, “I’m not going to HELP him!” . I reminded him that you reap what you sow just like we do in the garden. I finally convinced him that it was better to plant good seeds than bad.
I pointed out that maybe this boy picked on my grandson because he was feeling bad about himself. After a few minutes of persuading, my grandson relented to hear out my idea.
One day when my grandson finished his math work early, he went to his teacher and ask if he could help this boy who he knew was having trouble with math. The teacher walked him over to “the bully’s” desk and told him that my grandson would be helping him with his math assignment that day.
The Lesson. . .
Now, I’d like to say that they walked out of the classroom that day as fast friends, but they didn’t. However, the boy did quit picking on my grandson and after more time working on math assignments together, learned to tolerate one another and even manage a joke between them now and again. Not a storybook ending, but a good ending nonetheless. . .and a great life lesson!
Gardening with Kids Lesson 8: We All Need a Break Once in a While
At the end of the gardening season, Papa gathers up the grandkids and we all go out and pick the rest of the vegetables, clear out the dying plants and weeds, till up the soil, and put away all the gardening tools. Often, we talk about how the garden needs to rest for the winter after all its hard work during the spring and summer.
This is a good lesson for so many kids as they don’t know how to just sit and be still. Meditation and quietness in our information-overloaded world can be a blessing that few enjoy anymore. Every brain needs a rest and to everything, there is a time and season. In addition, it’s good to clear out the “bad stuff” from our lives from time to time.
Big Lessons for Little People
Who knew you could learn so much from a bunch of dirt and a few little seeds? We love to take advantage of all those little teaching moments with our Littles. It’s the way we leave our legacy for them – passing on the knowledge of our experiences.
Again, click here if you missed Part 1 of the Life Lessons from the Garden.
Are you ready to do some gardening with the kids?
Here are our recommendations for some fun ways to get them involved. P.S. These make really fun Christmas gifts. It’s the kind of gift that you can use WITH them when the weather warms up. . .and it’s pretty inexpensive! Win-win!
I love this little set because the tools are metal and the set is well made. The little tool bag holds the tools, the gloves, and the gardening smock.
Although you can buy seed kits in several places, it is usually less expensive to just buy the little starter pots and seeds separately. You get more bang for your buck anyway. So. . .here are the pots and the seeds that I recommend.
These little starter pots are great for starting plants even indoors. When the plants are big enough, you can just plant the whole thing – biodegradable pot and all – right into the ground. These pots from Amazon are a bit cheaper than buying them from the home improvement stores. These are the ones we use for the Littles.
It doesn’t matter what kind of seeds you start with. Just give kids the chance to grow something. What may matter is if you have a place to transplant the plants after they begin to grow. I don’t suppose if you live in a condo that you have a place to transplant corn. However, you may have a large flower pot to transplant some daisies (those are my favorites!).
Okay, so I bought this darling little book when I was at Magnolia’s in Waco, TX (see pic below). I just fell in LOVE with this little story and beautiful pictures about the Gaines family and how their family garden came to be. There are lessons from the garden in there as well! (By the way, I paid a small fortune for this book at Magnolia’s – not that I would trade the experience – but it’s waaaaaay cheaper here from Amazon!)