We are gearing up for garden time and I can’t wait to include our boys in the process this year! Personally, I think it is so important to teach and show your kids where real food comes from and what better way to do that than have them participate in the process?!
Another part of learning that is important for little ones is exploring their different senses. In an effort to combine these two areas I created a “Garden” tactile box for our boys last year. My hope was that it would spark their interest in gardening and also present an opportunity to have fun with all sorts of textures. In addition, it would be an activity where they could practice their fine motor skills and possibly play together;-)
Looking back over the past many months, I can certainly say that this box has gotten GREAT use! Imaginative play with the bugs, hide and go seek with the the seeds and vegetables, and the creation of various garden “scenes” were some of their favorite activities. Exploring in the box on rainy or cold days and then applying such curiosity to the backyard was fun to see.
If you are interested in encouraging your young children to learn about gardening, touch the earth more, and become interested in how food grows, creating a “garden in a box” may be ONE of many steps you can take. I simply found a plastic container with a locking lid and filled it with many objects we already had around the house:
• I used a red sand that I had around years ago as a vase filler. You could use any course sand or even rice or beans as your base instead.
• I also had some vase filler rocks in a storage closet that I thought would be fun with their different textures. You could even find small pebbles and rocks from outside to add.
• The boys already had the bugs and lizards. They hadn’t played with them as is for awhile, so adding them to the box gave them a new focus.
• I added small containers of rice and beans.
• I ordered a few of the items from The Dollhouse Cafe (wheelbarrow, gardening tools, vegetables, hose, watering can and buckets) – for very reasonable prices!
• And I found the little magnifying glasses at a local craft store.
Be creative, have fun and even ask your children what they think would be good additions!
Note: The garden “scene” now looks much different than it did in these photos:-) Allow your kids to explore, mix up the goodies and change the order. One of our only rules is that “the sand stays in the box!”