Studies show that giving children a connection to nature in their everyday lives can increase their IQ, and give them a higher level of confidence in exploring the world around them. I feel that it is very important to connect children to nature as young as possible. I decided that a fun way to do this was to allow Jonah to help me in my gardens. Last Thursday and Friday, jonah and I dug our fingers in the mud to plant tomatoes, peppers, and a small herb garden.
Our first garden activity was a semi-structured art project. I found a clay gnome for Jonah to paint, but instead of using the questionable paints that came with the gnome, we used our trustee non-toxic paint. I squirted some paint on the gnome, and let Jonah squish it around.We think he will do a good job of keeping the chipmunks out of the tomatoes. He looks scary enough to me!
Then, we put on sunscreen, gathered our garden tools, and headed outside. I bought Jonah a set of play garden tools, so that he could dig with me if he wanted, or just to explore. I encouraged him to put his hands in the dirt, and even to pull out some of the weeds that had already grown in our boxes. He was very timid about it at first, but soon got used to the idea of getting dirty.
After the weeds were clear and the soil was stirred up a bit, I showed Jonah the tomato plants. He loves to touch things, and it always amazes me at how gentle he is. He ever so gingerly strokes whatever it is that he wants to feel. I hold my breath, waiting for him to give a good yank, but he never does. My sweet gentle little boy! When I showed him the plants, of course he wanted to touch the leaves and look at the stems. I let him explore the plants, but I was also cautious about howmuch freedom I gave to him with the plants. I do, after all, want the tomatoes to grow! I then planted them in the box, and showed Jonah the watering can. He loved putting his hand in the stream of water, and when I put it down for him to explore, he stuck his hand right in the can! I let him play for a little while longer, exploring our new tomato garden, before going on to other parts of the garden.We have been checking the plants everyday and watering them. The larger plants already have fruit on them! Jonah loves touching the smooth green tomatoes, and looking at the little yellow flowers on the plants. I think that planting the tomatoes will become an event that Jonah and I will enjoy for years down the road!