We all want our children to love nature, right? Well the first step in that process is to love nature ourselves! Little ones love to sit and watch nature, so it’s important to give them time to do so.
They love to sit and watch the dandelion gently blowing in the breeze, or listen to the bees buzzing in the flowers…
…they enjoy the gifts of nature like the dirt and stones or the the tiny sunflower picked just for them…
…they will even find the faint moon high in the sky in the light of the day.
We can help cultivate this love for nature, not by over-talking or trying to teach about it, ruining its beauty with our over intellectualized adult point of view, but by observing its wonder and beauty ourselves. Only children really understand the glory of nature with their unspoiled youth and fresh perspective. It is not us that has something to teach our children about nature, but our children who will teach us.
There are few things as wonderful as a child’s belly full of fresh peas straight from the vine or a face covered in fresh picked strawberry juice. Gardening with your children creates wonderful memories and I am so happy that this year, my garden will have a little visitor that will much away on anything he can get his hands on(dirt and rocks included). I have made sure that this year I’m growing the vegetables that he can and will eat plenty of and that dangerous vegetables are far from his reach.
Great Veggies for Fresh Snacking
Snap and Snow Peas and Pole Beans – These are great because little hands can only reach so high so there are some left for the rest of the family
Shelling Peas – These are a bit trickier to eat than soft peas, but super fun! They take more time to get to so your crop won’t take such a big hit from busy mouths.
Lettuce and spinach – There are so many varieties to choose from and it comes back quickly. It’s also easy on the tummy so eating an abundance won’t be a problem.
Broccoli – So fun to pick these little bursts of flowers. If you live in an area where you will have aphids, then they will even get some protein. ;)
Strawberries – There is debate about whether children under the age of one should eat strawberries, though we will try them with our son as soon as we have a good crop. (about 11 months)
!Plants to Avoid!
All Nightshade Varieties – Tomatoes, Potatoes and Peppers
These are plants that have poisonious leaves. So unless your child is of an age where you know they will only eat the safe part (I would personally wait until 4 or 5) then best to keep them in a part of the yard where your little one doesn’t play.
In addition to fresh veggies eaten right off the plants, most children will eat up anything they pick fro the garden. They become so connected to the plants when they see the entire process. Instead of just A squash, it becomes THEIR squash. What are YOUR favorite veggies to grow in your garden?