Saturday, May 3, 2008

Your Kinder-garden

Often parents of young children lament that they cannot raise a flowerbed or vegetable garden because their children need so much of their time and attention. Well, growing a backyard garden may be the best way to do this! You can teach your child a variety of skills while tending your crops. By engaging your child in your hobby, you have a golden opportunity to teach your child many skills that he or she will need for school such as:

  • Math skills- count fruits, flowers and vegetables together; ask questions like “How many yellow flowers are there?” and “How many tomatoes are left in the basket if I take out 5?”
  • Science- encourage curiosity and exploration by talking about how the plants are different from each other, how they change from one day to the next, how they grow. Point out and name colors, shapes, sizes.
  • Language- talk, talk, and talk some more! Explain to your child what you are doing as you do it. For example, you can say, “Now I am filling the hole with dirt to cover the seeds so they can grow.” Ask your child open-ended questions (ones that require more than a “yes-no” answer). Listen to your child talk to you as well. Have him or her tell another family member what you did in the garden together.
  • Following directions- give your child simple directions to follow- one- or two-steps depending on their age; set a few basic rules for working in the garden and give recognition to your child for following them. Your garden and your child can both blossom when you work together. Gardening can really be as simple as child’s play!

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