Posted By: Michelle Kuehler /
The weather has turned cold and rainy for most of us and many kids have no choice but to stay inside and out of nature during these cold months. Keeping kids busy in the garden and teaching them about sustainable practices is easy in the spring and summer but how do you keep them just as interested and entertained during the winter?
Winter is for the Birds
Channel your days as a boyscout or girlscout and teach your children how to make a one of a kind house for those newbirds. Just grab some scrap wood and nails to make a simple bird house and let your kids decorate it with paints, sequins, glitter or whatever else they can think of. Many craft stores also sell kits and patterns are easily found online for those of us that are not so architecturally inclined.
You can also feed those hungry winter birds with just a few ingredients: pine cones, a piece of string, peanut butter and bird seed. Tie a loop around the top of the pinecone, cover it with peanut butter and roll it in the bird seed. It’s that easy and your kids will love making a little bit of a mess!
Let their Inner Artist Shine
Teach your children about recycling and encourage their artistic abilities by letting them paint old pots, mayonnaise jars or fishbowls. You can also use inexpensive terra cotta pots which you can find at most craft stores or garden stores. Create a nature Collage. Take them out for a walk around the garden or park and have them collect pinecones, leaves, sticks or stones. Then, turn them into works of art by letting them glue their finds onto a large sheet of paper or carboard.
School is Not Out for Winter Break
Teach your children about odd plants, the way plants grow and let them ask as many questions as they like. Consider picking up a Venus flytrap from your local gardening store. They will be amazed by a plant that can eat insects! Let them explore the outdoors and do research with them to find out what type of rock, insect or leaf they have found. You can also read them garden-themed books such as ‘Peter Rabbit’ or ‘the Secret Garden’.
There are many plants that your kids can help grow indoors. Save the leftover pit of an avocado or citrus fruit or have them help with a windowsill garden. Start an avocado by suspending the pit with toothpicks in a glass of water. Then, put the pointy side up and remember to change the water every couple of days while waiting for it to split and send out a root. To grow citrus fruits, soak the seeds in water overnight. Plant them about one inch deep in a pot filled with potting soil. Put two to three seeds in each pot.
Gardening is a fun way to educate your children about sustainable practices and to teach them the responsibility of caring for a living thing. It also keeps them busy and provides lots of entertainment!