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Summer and children on break: Try earth friendly activities
Karen Bell
Keep Liberty Beautiful Executive Director Karen Bell. - photo by Denise Etheridge

School is out which means some children and parents may be wondering what activities they can enjoy while being Earth Friendly during the summer.  Starting a gardening project with your children or grandchildren is a great idea for a summer activity.  Even if you do not have a ‘green thumb’, there are plenty of resources available to help your project blossom! Here are some tips for creating a great planting and a wonderful opportunity to grow closer with your kids.

First, make it simple by choosing a location with your young partner that is accessible. Involve your children in the planning and let them assume care and maintenance responsibilities. You as the Grown-up should help and show how-to’s--- but not do everything.  Let the Little Ones take ownership.

Involve the children in the site selection process so they understand how important the light, soil, drainage and other environmental factors are to having a garden. Developing a container garden can be a perfect starter project.  Choose a plant suitable for your location and lighting and climate, so you are not “working against nature.”

You want your project to be fun.  Remember that a child’s sense of what is pretty may not be yours, so let them be creative.  That is okay because the garden is the child’s space. Be realistic. Sometimes you are going to run into some creepy crawlies. Children aren’t naturally afraid of things that crawl and creep. They learn these attitudes from adults. Don’t pass on your aversion to a critter. Worms, caterpillars, grubs, insects, spiders and other creatures may sometimes show up in your garden as part of the ecosystem. Let your children form their own opinions about these critters.

Create a clean healthy garden site. Say no to chemicals. You are working with children, after all. Start them off right, particularly, if you are growing things to eat.  Growing vegetables is a great way to encourage them to eat more veggies.  Children are much more willing to try out fresh fruits and vegetables that they have grown. In fact, they often will try things that they never have eaten before because they have tended the plants as they were growing. Since 60 percent of children today don’t eat enough fruits and veggies, gardening together is a perfect way to expand a child’s food palate.

Whatever project that you choose to do, remember to keep it fun and kid-focused.  Gardening can be a powerful experience for children--- and adults, too.  These days children spend less and less time outside enjoying and interacting with nature. Gardening with them is a wonderful way to develop future stewards for our environment.  Also, growing plants develops a nurturing instinct that all people young and old can benefit from having and our world benefits, too.  

One final thing, gardening together can create a special bond between you that can grow as your child or grandchild grows.  Don’t miss that kind of opportunity for you and the children in your life!  They grow up so fast … even though summer vacations can seem to last forever some days.  For more green environmental ideas for you and your family, contact Keep Liberty Beautiful at (912) 880-4888, email klcb@libertycountyga.com or visit www.keeplibertybeautiful.org.



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