It was a wonderfully productive weekend around here (and what momma doesn’t love a little genuine productivity once in a while!)
The sun has been shining, the girls have been happy (for the most part!) and we have milked every last ounce of summer preparation out of these last three days-- we’ve planted flowers and vegetables, herbs and potted plants, we’ve weeded and mulched, mowed and edged. We’ve exercised our bodies, and our minds and we’ve included the girls in as much of it as possible.
I LOVE when I can include the girls in our every day goings on, particularly in the garden ( and let me just tell you I am a NOVICE when it comes to gardening...I know little, except that you stick things in the ground and weed and water and HOPE that food pops up!). In the end, if I can get one or both of the girls to participate in what I'm doing it's a win win for everyone.
It has only been in our modern culture that we have tried to stimulate children's learning and growth through "educational" toys (which wind up being a whole lot of expensive pieces of colored plastic if you ask me) instead of bringing them alongside the work and tasks that need to be done, or just letting them play independently with whatever they can find...and therefore being forced to use their imaginations.
I have to tell you the more I have tried to incorporate the girls in my days, the happier everyone seems to be and the more they learn to play, on their own accord, or help. It works kind of like this...
Momma takes on the task of planting vegetables in the garden. The girls realize that I am busy and that they have two choices...
A) They can help
B) They can find something to play with nearby, where I can see them, while we are all outside together
What ends up happening is that, depending on the moods they are in, I get a mixture of help and play. Each girl will inevitably wander over at some point in the process to ask what I am doing and if they can help. I usually create a "task" for them ( I REALLY need you to shovel some dirt into that bucket) or I actually have them help me dig, or plant or whatever I'm doing.
Their help usually lasts for several minutes at which point they often decide to go off and find a stick, or a rock or a swing and entertain themselves...then they may come back 10 or 15 minutes later to "help" again.
(Now, when we're inside baking inside it's a whole different game-- they usually engage the entire time for the entire task! It takes longer, but they are learning, it is time well spent, it gives us something fun to focus on for a little while, and we have something yummy to eat at the end.)
I LOVE that they want to help because we are spending time together, I am getting something done that will benefit the whole family and I feel they are learning in the process...now, I'm not sure exactly what they are learning, but I like to believe that it has something to do with...
.... realizing that food doesn't just miraculously show up in grocery stores, but that there was work involved and that it is actually pretty cool to see how the things God has created grow and sustain us.
....that they too can help to create something through some the combination of initial work and then the ongoing discipline of weeding and watering.
....that they are wholly welcomed and encouraged to participate in projects around the house and yard and that all of the work that mommy and daddy do is actually part of a "team" process that I would inevitably like them to participate in because as a family we are a team. I think (hope!) that this early exposure is part of cultivating a helpful, workful spirit in them when they are a bit older and able to do more.
...that life, as fun as it would be, is NOT all about play.
...that sometimes mommy and daddy need to get things done and we can either help, or play independently.
Here are a few photos from the weekend of work...
(helping with the plantings...)
(some chives, lavender and mint that came back this year!! whoo hoo!)
(trying lettuce for the first time...I've been told it doesn't like too much heat and our main "garden" is in direct sun all day so I put the lettuce in this container, next to a fence where it will get part sun)
(our "secondary" garden...new this year...on the side of the house...cucumbers need quite a bit of space to grow (which is likely why mine have never done well before-I've always tried to jam them into a tiny space- so we put this bed on the side of our house and are giving our cucumbers all the space they need (it's kind of like raising kids actually...some need more space to grow then others!!))
(our "main" garden where we have beets, green beans, tomatoes, basil, zuchini and peas gorwing)
(alright, I won't lie, I don't think Ella helped a lick this weekend! But she did have some fun "independent" play outside!)
Would love to hear some of the tasks you get your kids involved in at home!