The story begins, “The Lupine Lady lives in a small house overlooking the sea. In between the rocks around her house grow blue and purple and rose-colored flowers.”
As a little girl, Alice lived by the sea, where she watched sailing ships. In fact, her grandfather had come to America on one of these ships. He was an artist, making figureheads for the prows of ships and painting pictures. Sometimes, Alice helped him paint in the skies.
When he told stories of the faraway world he had seen, Alice knew that she, too, wanted to explore. Grandfather agreed, but said she also had to “do something to make the world more beautiful.”
Alice grew up and lived her dreams, traveling to exotic places. When she was ready to settle down to live by the sea again, she pondered how to make the world more beautiful.
Her decision? To scatter lupine seeds far and wide. The next spring, lupines covered fields and hillsides, highways and lanes. When our girls were 8 and 10, we saw our first huge field of blooming lupines in Maine. Amazing!
Age range: 5 – 8.
All you need is a packet of easy-to-grow seeds (like beans or parsley) or plants (like cherry tomatoes), a pot in a place that gets enough sunshine (so yes, even a container on a porch is fine!), and a water source. We once tossed our Halloween pumpkin into our Indiana garden and forgot about it. The next spring, we saw leaves and vines getting bigger and bigger, until it dominated the space. So choose based on where you live and space available.
By all means, let your child get her hands dirty! Let her water with a watering can. And later, let her harvest those fresh veggies. If you plant flowers, let your little one choose which ones to cut. We keep kid-friendly scissors at our house, so older guy can cut his own. Our little guy points out which ones I should cut.
If you select a plant that grows quickly, it is exciting to chart its journey skyward by using a yardstick, much like a growth chart for your plant.
Older children can keep a diary of planting date, first harvest date, and even weekly progress reports in between.
This works especially well if you choose fast-growing plants, like green beans, where you will need netting or something for those sweet tendrils to hang onto. You can also snap shots with your iPhone camera.
These two pictures were taken just three days apart! And now, the tendrils have climbed to the tippy top of the netting!
Protecting the earth (sh’mirat ha’adamah) is a value that teaches us to respect all things that grow. Just by planting and tending, our children get a greater appreciation of where food comes from and what it takes to nurture it.
In an activity that speaks to the cycle of nature, the bean seeds that we harvested from the baby plants our grandsons gave us last year are now sturdy plants shooting skyward in both our garden and in our grandsons’ garden. By sharing those seeds, we can now exchange pictures and stories of how the same plants are faring at both houses.
You can also plant the idea (sorry about that pun) of the importance of making the world a beautiful place – and begin brainstorming with your grands about how they might choose to do that.
What gardening activities are you doing with your child this summer? Please share your experiences and pix on Facebook.
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Ideas. Ideas. Ideas. Pinterest!