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SFG for kids!

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SFG for kids!

Post  gwennifer on 3/5/2014, 6:23 pm

There are so many learning opportunities embedded in gardening!  I thought it would be fun to have a thread where we share the teaching moments that our children are exposed to when we involve them in our SFG's.  

I'll start it off by sharing just a few of the things my kids and I did and/or talked about as we planted our spring garden:

1.  Season.  It's winter here, and spring is coming next.

2.  Temperature.  We planted cool season plants.  We took the soil temperature so we could estimate germination times with the help of the appendix in the back of the ANSFG book.

3.  Direction.  We needed to know which way was north to plant our tallest/climbing plants.

4.  Comparing numbers.  Plants need to be planted tallest to shortest north to south.

5.  Reading charts, counting, writing, using the calendar.  I had my 5 y.o. write on the calendar the day we planted our seeds, and then count out the respective number of days for each vegetable that we should expect to see germination and mark those on the calendar as well.  

Of course, I let them get their hands dirty and actually plant the seeds too!  Pea seeds in the spring are a kid favorite.  The size of the seeds are easy for little hands and you can see them in their holes if they forget which one they were on.  They also get to go in nice and deep which is fun.  And the sprouts are enormous and easy to spot!

Please share your experiences with kids and your SFGs.  I'd love to hear your ideas and see pictures too.
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Re: SFG for kids!

Post  mschaef on 3/5/2014, 7:27 pm

This is a great topic!!!

While gardening with my boys we have learned about BUGS!!! Which ones would be beneficial to the garden and which ones are not. As well as where our county extension office is for the bugs we can not figure out one our own. They have also learned how to measure out the wood for mom/dad to cut and for the square markers. As well as how to use tools the right way. Its so much fun learning and growing with them in the garden.
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Re: SFG for kids!

Post  H_TX_2 on 3/6/2014, 10:55 am

My boys like to get involved if tools are required. After each planting season when I turn over the MM and add new compost in my boxes the boys like to help. I have a 4 yo daughter and she loves helping me do just about anything in the garden. Whenever she finds a pill bug somewhere else in the yard she moves it to my SFG so that it will have a good home. I have told her that I have enough and to look for lady bugs but at our house pill bugs out number lady bugs about 1,000,000 to 1. She likes to eat mint and rosemary right from the garden. I grow yellow pear tomatoes and the two of us are the only ones in the house that eat them but none of them ever find their way to the inside of the house. One day my wife and daughter were somewhere out to lunch and my wife asked our daughter if she wanted the tomatoes that were on my wifes plate. My daughter told her no and then said "I only eat tomatoes from daddy's garden." In February she helped me start seeds indoors and planted carrots outside for this years garden. All my kids enjoy pulling carrots because each one has an element of unknown just waiting to be pulled up. How long will it be? Will it be fat or skinny? Straight or crooked? I'm not a big fan of carrots since the ones purchased at the store are like chewing on a branch but my homegrown carrots are more tender and more sweet than any other carrots I have tried. Now that I say that I am thinking I should plant more carrots. I also plant more flowers to try and attract pollinators to my garden and my daughter loves the flowers.

My kids also like to harvest so I have showed all of them how to properly cut rosemary, basil and anything else that they can harvest on their own.
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Re: SFG for kids!

Post  gwennifer on 3/6/2014, 11:07 am

Great replies!  

Yes, mschaef, the bugs!  I was hoping someone would bring that up.  Funny story: I have a neighbor with a daughter the same age as one of mine and they are good friends.  One day she was over there playing and my neighbor pointed out a "pretty butterfly" for them to look at.  My daughter promptly told her "That's not a butterfly it's a cabbage moth, and they are bad for gardens".  She was four.   Laughing 

H_TX_2, "I only eat tomatoes from daddy's garden.".   rofl
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gwennifer

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Re: SFG for kids!

Post  Turan on 3/6/2014, 11:58 am

BUGS!  Laughing  It seemed like all the jars had any sort of bug larva or cocoons to try and raise.
I gave each kid a section of garden, about 4x4, that they could plant as they wished. Often as not their area had trucks moving dirt around their strawberry and flower and pepper plants and homes for fairies built of sticks and leaves. My younger son would pick out plants to grow by smell, big on lemon balm and other herbs.

I always grew cherry tomatoes and sugar snap peas along the path near the house, so kids could nibble as they ran by. I had to cage the lettuce so they would graze it only so far and not all gone.

And then early economics. Our yard had a lot of thistles when we moved here. The kids earned a penny for every thistle plant with root. That taught them to count. They opened their savings accounts with those pennies. Half their earnings they could spend and the other half went into the bank. I think they opened their accounts with 50 cents Laughing 

I look forward to grandchildren and am a bit envious of all of you with little kid helpers.

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Re: SFG for kids!

Post  boffer on 3/6/2014, 7:54 pm

How about having a Kids' Korner forum?

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Re: SFG for kids!

Post  yolos on 3/6/2014, 8:18 pm

WORMS - my grandson (4 yr old) is fascinated with worms.  At first the few he would find he played with them so much I was afraid he would kill what few we had in the yard.  I eventually taught him that if he handles wild things too much they will die.  So if he finds any now he puts them in my beds, covers them with compost and vegetative waste from the compost pile and then waters them.  He is learning what they need to survive and that they are important in the garden.
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Re: SFG for kids!

Post  gwennifer on 3/6/2014, 10:59 pm

Turan, what great memories! Being a grandma is going to be so much fun!

Yolos, worms indeed! My kiddos are always rescuing worms and frogs for my garden.
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Re: SFG for kids!

Post  gwennifer on 3/10/2014, 11:40 am

Patience! Did I mention gardening can teach patience? The cold rain has slowed down our expected germination rate. We've been inspecting our squares closely for signs of sprouts but nothing has, in the words of my 3 y.o., "popped up" yet.
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Re: SFG for kids!

Post  kamigh on 3/10/2014, 1:02 pm

Hi all! New to the forum, but I thought I'd let you all know that it looks like Mel is coming out with a new book on this very topic in the near future. I got an email about it from Amazon, probably because I bought the ANSFG and the answer book this winter.
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Re: SFG for kids!

Post  gwennifer on 3/10/2014, 1:40 pm

Yep it's true. It's not why I created the post though - the timing there was a coincidence. Actually the SFG foundation is currently giving away one copy of the book to a USA or Canada resident through a raffle style drawing. You can enter to win it here: SFG with Kids book giveaway
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