It's funny how all the talk of gardening with little ones tapers out almost completely at this time of year. It isn't until children are carving their pumpkins in late October that any of us really appreciate the value of time spent in the garden with our little ones as summer transitions into fall. Not to get too overly existential here but there is a circle of life that happens in the garden and while we are excited to teach our little ones about planting seeds and watching life form - we forget that there are also valuable lessons to be learned as life matures and the garden goes to sleep for another year. Here are 3 Life Lessons we can share with our kids during Harvest Time:
1. The Fruits of their Labour
"So. Remember all that work you did to plant, water and weed the soil for this little seed? Voila! Here are the fruits (or veggies) of your labour... literally!" What better life lesson could we share with our children than to teach them that when they tend something with love and care it comes back to them one hundred fold and in such magical ways?
2. Cycle of Life
Life is part of a cycle. We must have a balance between the energy and vibrance of spring and the rest and cozy periods of fall moving into winter slumber. Plants and animals understand this instinctively and so do our children! Watch as neighbours chop wood and don sweaters. Maybe leave one vegetable to rot in the garden to enrich the soil and as an example of how all living things make up part of this wonderful circle we call life. Visit it regularly and observe the process as it goes back into the earth with all its seeds. Check in the spring to see if it comes up again as a brand new plant!
3. Preserving and Cooking
Make a big batch of soup with your little one either with the harvest from your own garden or from a local veggie patch! Allow him to select the spices to season the soup, and to be part of all the steps from picking, chopping, simmering and maybe even pureeing! Cooking and preserving are both excellent life lessons for little ones especially little boys!
All this talk of cooking has me hankering after a smooth butternut squash soup! You? What other life lessons does gardening teach our little ones? Please share what you have learned in the garden this season with your own kids!