In the garden, when children tire from picking off Japanese Beetles or plucking weeds, perhaps you will want to try one of these fun projects:
* Take a close look at the soil
What is the soil made of? Who live there? Older children especially, enjoy learning how a soil test works.
Collect soil samples from different parts of the garden. Try growing the dame kind of plants in the different soil conditions.
* Study Seeds
Look at their size, how they are formed, and how they grow. Sprout seeds on a damp towel, or make a production out of it: Roll a piece of black construction paper and fit it inside a clear glass. Fill the center with a crumpled paper towel. Now, place several different seeds between the glass and the black paper. Pour in enough water to moisten the crumpled paper towel.
When the seed begin to germinate, flip the glass upside down an watch the roots find their way downward again. Plants are effected by gravity.
* Help a Child keep a garden journal
Clip pictures from a seed catalog and attach the seed packet to the journal page for easy reference.
Chart when the seed is started, note the weather conditions as it grows. Add the date when it begins bearing fruit.
* Make an edible necklace
by collecting a harvest of peas, beans and edible flowers. String a double piece of strong thread into a needle. Then sit with the child under a shade tree or a porch and and begin making jewelry.
Cornhusk dolls are a big hit.
The cornhusks can be either fresh or dried. (Soak dried cornhusks in warm water until they are soft, able to bend without cracking).
Put several husks together and fold them over in half. Tie a piece of yarn a few inches down from the fold to form a doll head. fold a few more husks lengthwise, then slip horizontally through the body to for the doll arms. Let the stick out on either side.
Next, tie at the wrists and cut the ends (hands) to even up the lengths.
To make a dress, slip a husk across each shoulder, cross the middle, and tie with yarn at the waist. Fluff out the lower part of the skirt. Glue corn silk for the hair and draw a face using an ink marker.
* Vegetable dyes.
This particular project need adult supervision, but the results are are satisfying and memorable.
For this project your will need several pots of boiling water. In separate pots, simmer beets,cabbage leaves, onion skins, or flowers such as tansy or marigold.
Strain the liquid and soak white yarn or fabric in the colored water. This is great for decorative artwork: dyes will not be colorfast.
*Theme Garden for the older kids.
Try a cutting garden of only pink flowers. Visit a nursery or a garden center and start a patch of several kinds of mints. Or, try a patchwork-quit design of salad greens.
Place stakes at 1′ intervals on all four sides of a 2′ wide garden bed. Run twine between the stakes to form a grid. Broadcast seeds, a different salad green in each grid plot.
Try this fun project with children. It is a very rewarding and unforgettable experience!
This ends our Vegetarian Children Gardening series.