Saturday, May 01, 2010
Enhance a kid's day at SML with fun gardening projects
The grandchildren are visiting and they've worn themselves out boating, swimming, jet skiing, wakeboarding, fishing and generally having a good time in and near the water. They need a break, but television and computer games aren't what you have in mind. Why not try a gardening project?
There are numerous books on the market geared toward introducing children to gardening. One I particularly enjoy is Gardening with Kids by Catherine Woram and Martyn Cox.
Gardening with Kids is rich with ideas and tips to help parents and grandparents inspire a love of gardening in children, and beautifully illustrated with captivating photographs of children enjoying the described activities.
The first section provides a basic overview of the rudiments of gardening with a focus on children, but it is the subsequent chapters that come alive with step-by-step garden-related projects suitable for kids of varying ages.
The projects include simple activities like planting fast-sprouting seeds such as radishes and cress in eggshells decorated with faces. When the seeds sprout, the egg person has a fine head of "hair."
Another fun project in the"Growing" chapter is creating a tower of plants by stacking pots of diminishing size on top of each other and then planting the edges with succulents, herbs or flowers.
The book's "Making" chapter includes a number of fun possibilities - pressing flowers; creating an elf house with twigs, twine, acorns, felt and pipe cleaners; making pine cone animals; and potato printing.
Last summer, we asked two young Lakers to "test drive" two of the book's activities. Ben Gibson, 10,and McKenna-Kate Gaudio, 7, spent an afternoon painting flower pots and creating a bird bath from a plant saucer.
"My favorite part was coming up with the design ideas," McKenna-Kate said.
Ben added, "It was fun making both of them. I liked using the different colored stones and rocks."
The supplies were inexpensive, easy to find at a craft store and garden center, and the children loved taking their completed projects home. Of course, your little ones may want to leave their crafts behind for you as a memento of fun times spent together at Smith Mountain Lake.
Catriona Tudor Erler is a freelance garden writer, photographer and speaker who divides her time between SML and Charlottesville.She is the author of nine garden books, including "Design Ideas for Home Landscaping," "Poolscaping: Gardening and Landscaping Around Your Pool and Spa," and "Complete Home Landscaping."