It's summer. Most of the kids have finished their term exams, and are enjoying their holidays. During the holidays, the primary job of parents is to keep their kids occupied. Oh, the summer camps are houseful these days!
Have you thought about a gardening project for the kids? It's a nice project; I have observed that the kids learn about plants (as living things), nurture and care, develop a sense of responsibility or ownership, and enhance their patience.
Project 1: Growing plants in containers
What tasks are involved in a gardening project?
1) Parents: Talk to the kids about a gardening project.
2) Parents & kids: Ask their ideas for the project, or select a project. For example, growing herb (mint) at home or growing rose at home.
3) Parents & kids: Shop for containers and soil mixture. (Note: I'm restricting the project to container gardening).
4) Parents or kids: Shop for a plant or seeds, or get a plant from neighbor or friend. Or grow plants from material available in the fridge or kitchen. Example: coriander, fenugreek, potatoes, and so on
5) Kids: Put the plants in containers. If you are growing plants from seeds, use a seed tray or its substitute.
6) Kids: Water and nurture the plant daily.
7) Kids: Check for pests.
8) Parents: Purchase appropriate pesticide. Ensure that you keep the pesticide away from kids, and that you spray the chemical on the plants.
9) Parents & kids: Celebrate every bloom of flowers or every harvest.
10) Kids: Take pictures. To learn about photography, see http://www.betterphoto.com/BetterPhotoClubs.asp.
11) Kids: Make a collage, and display it in your room. For help about collages, see http://www.artistshelpingchildren.org/collagesartscraftsideasprojectskids.html.
|Mint grown in an earthen container|
Clap your hands for completing the gardening project!
Project 2: Inviting birds
It’s sad that sparrows and other birds have vanished from our cities. To welcome back the sparrows, Biodiversity Conservation Indian Limited (BCIL) and the Zoo Authority of Karnataka are creating awareness. See http://gubbigoodu.in/.
How can you invite the birds?
1) Buy an earthen pan or saucer, or take a plastic or metal container that is available at home.
2) Clean the container.
3) Keep the container is a place that will catch attention of birds. Example: balcony, under a tree, or parapet wall
4) Mix different variety of grains – rice, barley, ragi, wheat, and others.
5) Put a handful of this mix in the container.
6) Ensure that you do not move the container from one place to another. Birds will find the food easily, if the container is kept at one place.
Also keep a container with water in it. Preferably, an earthen pot filled with water; will quench the thirst. After a few days, you will see birds eating from the container, and listen to their melodies.
Ah, yes, you can sing along with the birds!
Project 3: Building a compose bin
Daily Dump sells compost bin, and educates people about composting. For more information, please visit their Web site. You can either purchase a bin from them or create your own.
How do I build a compost bin?
If you have decided to teach your kids to build a compost bin, that’s great!
You can use an unused or old plastic bucket, a big earthen pot, a wooden box, and others to make a compost bin. Ensure that you make small holes in the bin for good air circulation and for excess water to drain out. The compost does not smell if air circulation is good and water drains out.
Involve the kids in selecting a bin, making holes, and placing is at an appropriate place. Encourage the kids to put vegetable scrapings and peels, dried leaves, bits of paper, and so on into the bin. After a few months, a good quality of compost will be ready. Remove the compost from the container, and use the compost for your plants.
Happy project work!