poppies 1

The days are finally getting warmer and our gardens are flourishing. We have strawberries, raspberries, blackberries broccoli, carrots, peas, green beans, squash, pumpkin and tomatoes in our gardens in addition to all our lovely flowers. The strawberries are starting to turn a soft blush color and the children are scanning each patch multiple times throughout the day to see if they are ripe enough to eat.

I have seen children work in tandem to find a ripe berry after having negotiated how they will split the berry and who gets the privilege of plucking it from the plant. Others who carefully check them, water and help them “grow”. Our gardens serve as a research lab for out kids, providing hands on daily opportunity to learn about how plants grow and the role of insects, water and sun in that process. One child has hypothesized that by shading a particular strawberry it will get bigger and another proposed that singing to his berry will make it bigger. As the days progress we will test their hypotheses, in the end we will enjoy some sweet juicy berries for our hard work.

 berries 1 broccoli 1

Gardening with children gives them a connection to nature and offers hands on real life opportunities to explore and learn. Through these processes our kids are exploring science and math concepts, building vocabulary, negotiation, conflict resolution and critical thinking skills. A large space is not necessary to garden with your child. A simple pot with a broccoli or tomato plant on your door step, that you tend to together, will provide many learning and sharing opportunities between you and your child.

Here is a link for ideas to garden with your child this summer:
http://www.netmums.com/activities/in-the-garden/gardening-with-children