Fairy and Elf Activities #4 for Boys and Girls: Fairy and Elf Gardens

Today is also World Environmental Awareness Day, so it’s great timing for making fairy and elf gardens; either one is fun for both boys and girls.fairy-elf-garden-kids

What can be more magical than a garden? It grows in the dark from small hard things called seeds. Tiny little sprouts pop out of the ground. Although we watch carefully and can’t see them getting bigger, they somehow do. More leaves appear and sometimes flowers or parts we can eat.

We  made two leprechaun gardens. Although the little people on a stick had long white beards and looked more like gnomes, we called them leprechauns. To make a small garden, we found a big plastic pot, lined it with a few small rocks, added dirt, and a few plants from the yard. Fairies and magical creatures are small so the kids found some small, glass marbles, bits of colored tiles, shell, and stones to decorate the garden. They added some water and set these outside in the sun. Who knows, these gardens in a pot might entice some real fairies, elves, gnomes, sprites, pixies, or other mythical creatures?fairy-elf-garden-kids

Young children need experience to know that plants need sunshine, water, and soil for growing. Because so much of our food is obtained at stores, kids are far removed from the process of planting seeds, tending plants, and harvesting food. These links in the seed to food process are not part of their reality. How often do we stop to think about food and how it grows?

Mint, parsley, and chives are also good choices for plants in fairy and elf gardens. These plants can handle some touching by little fingers. They tickle the sense of smell and, when big enough, kids can eat them. When kids are involved in the whole cycle, they develop a deeper appreciation for what we eat.fairy-elf-garden-kids

It’s quite exciting and almost magical to plant something, eat it, and still be able to have more plants. Do you agree?

Mayhem and Messy Play #13: Kids Gardening Messy Play

Sunny weekends at this time are an invitation to get outside that can’t be resisted plus it’s time for some kids gardening messy play and sensory fun. Mom Ursula M recently posted a photo and a comment about gardening with kids. She said after spending some time showing her son about planting, Lucca“had dirt from head to toe and he loved every second.” She added it was one of the best parts of the day. kids gardening messy play

From a series of posts previously, here is a part about gardens and senses:

In a garden so many activities are touchy-feely. Hands get to dig in the soil, play with mud, find rocks, feel slippery earthworms and fuzzy caterpillars, and oh so gently touch plants. There’s the feeling of the outdoors from the soft breeze, the warm sun, and the cool water. Flowers and herbs are not the only things for smelling, but are probably what smell the best. Gardens are usually quiet places, so ears have to listen carefully. Hands pat the earth softly, the wind rustles the leaves, feet scrunch on the paths, and sometimes birds sing along.

Besides planting, digging is another great and messy gardening activity. While adults use big spades, kids can dig with smaller ones. They will use whatever is handy, be it sand shovels, plastic garden tools, diggers, or their hands. They might even like a turn with the big tools. When it comes time to add water, kids also love using hoses, pails, and watering cans. Water plus dirt makes for even more messy and sensory fun.

kids can help with yard work

While the freedom to make a mess is appealing, messy play also includes the freedom to explore and to question. What will happen to seeds in the ground? Will plants really grow?  How does a worm move? Where does the water go after dropping it on the ground? Adults know the water soaks into the dirt but it’s quite a mystery to kids. Apparently, kids ask over 300 questions a day! With so much to figure out about the world, it’s no wonder kids are full of questions.

kids garden play

Kids gardening messy play is just the start of a connection to nature. More than that, it’s a partnership with kids doing the planting and tending, and nature supplying the rest. Children learn they have a part to play in caring for nature’s gifts and that includes themselves. Will kids gardening messy play be part of your weekend?


Magic Wishes for Preschool/Kindergarten #6: Kids’ Gardening Fun and Learning

Spring is the best time of year for kids’ gardening fun and learning. Do your kids know that food has to grow before we get it at a store? In this series, parents and caregivers of preschool kids are answering the following question:

Q. If you had a magic wand or one wish you could use to conjure up something in a preschool program, care center, or kindergarten, what would that be?

kids' gardening fun and learning

The answers give plenty of food for thought. Patrick, dad of K, wishes his son and other kids could learn about gardening and the value of food. It must be the time of year, because just this week there was a radio interview with a scientist and growing food in space. Growing food in space is more than a science challenge. It’s also a mental and emotional issue, as astronauts find they really miss eating something fresh. Plus, being involved in growing food provides a connection nothing else can. Not only do plants feed bodies they also feed our hearts. Caring and looking after plants can reduce the isolation and loneliness of those in space—and back on Earth too.

There are so many great reasons to include gardening activities for kids, no wonder Patrick wished kids could have access to gardens. Gardens nourish the senses. Think of the smell of soil and water, green plants, and freshness outdoors. Soft, slippery, wet, and sandy are a few of the different textures for sense of touch. With plants and earth, eyes get lots of stimulation. There’s not a lot to hear, or is there? Perhaps this is one reason why gardening is relaxing, the sounds are oh so quiet.

kids' gardening fun and learning

Children not only tune in to their senses, but to their own nature. They also learn about being patient and responsible. The experience the circle of life, in that plants need our care and we need plants for food. Creepy crawlies like worms are part of the connection too. When we care for a garden, we also care for ourselves and others.

Raising food from planting to harvesting, not only gives kids knowledge of how food grows, but appreciation for it too. In the words of the Guerilla Gardner, Ron Finley, “Kids who grow kale will eat kale. Kids who grow tomatoes, will eat tomatoes.” That’s one way of getting kids to eat veggies. Having kids’ gardening fun and learning as part of early childhood is so worthwhile. Do you wish there was more of it too?


Gardening with Kids for Fun and Learning #10

Gardens are fun places for learning such as math, language, science, art, interacting with others, connecting to nature and more, as well as for some kindergarten readiness. On the weekend, there is a wonderful farmer’s market in our area.  While picking up some fresh rhubarb, this little 3 year old boy was checking out the … Continue reading Gardening with Kids for Fun and Learning #10

Garden Magic with Stories and Art Activities

Gardens can grow much more learning, fun, and kindergarten readiness than science and connections to nature; they can also stimulate imaginations and art. Seeds get planted in gardens, but the magic seeds that Jack planted grew a beanstalk that reached to the sky. What might happen if other seeds were magic too? To stretch imaginations, … Continue reading Garden Magic with Stories and Art Activities

Gardening With Kids #7: Fun for the Senses

Sensory play, an important activity for children’s development, contributes to learning and kindergarten readiness, and time in the garden will stimulate all the senses. In a garden so many activities are touchy-feely. Hands get to dig in the soil, play with mud, find rocks, feel slippery earthworms and fuzzy caterpillars, and oh so gently touch … Continue reading Gardening With Kids #7: Fun for the Senses