Get Digging Into Reading This Summer
School’s out and summer is here! Without some intentional planning and preparation, the summer can slide by with little attention to the reading, writing and math opportunities that abound in great supply over the summer vacation!
My family loves digging in the soil and gardening and summer time is the most wonderful time of year to enjoy the wonders of growing your own food. Here are some terrific ways to keep your child engaged with reading, math and science over the summer without them even realizing it! Kids love playing in the dirt and growing things, especially things they can eat and share with the whole family! They can measure, purchase and set up their own raised garden bed in boxes or flower pots and take responsibility for planting, fertilizing, weeding, watering, learning about pests and all that goes along with growing a garden. The reading that occurs in the research and following instructions is a great way to incorporate practice and relevant reading over the summer!
Growing a herb garden can give you quick results for those wanting to see the fruits of their labors quickly. Seedlings will grow more quickly than seeds, of course, and be available for harvesting sooner. Reading instructions and both library and online research will tell you the best way to grow different herbs.
There are so many wonderful, tasty herbs that kids rarely have time to experience and enjoy. Fresh from the garden, herbs are healthy and add flavor and fragrance to food. Children love when they can contribute something meaningful and helpful to their family. These herbs can be added to pizza, barbeque burgers and chicken or dips for those yummy veggies and salads that we so want them to enjoy!
Basil is one of those easy to grow herbs because it progresses rapidly, lives happily indoors or outdoors , can grow easily in a pot and it can be continually harvested throughout the season. Basil is a delicious herb for various foods, including Vietnamese, Chinese and Italian dishes.
Chives are related to onions, leeks and garlic and are one of the easiest herbs to grow. You can eat the whole plant and they add great flavor to baked or mashed potatoes.
You don't have to love dill pickles in order to appreciate dill as an herb! Dill is another simple herb to grow and it works well in both a pot on your windowsill or in your garden. It is perfect for those yummy summer time dips for fresh veggies that are so good for us! Dill offers a delicate and amazing flavour, which improves everything from salad to salmon. It can be used in many ways and I’m always delightfully surprised at the extra flavour it adds.
I love growing mint simply for adding it to my water or tea and even for chewing on a leaf after my meal to assist in digestion and freshen up my breath.
Sage is a very hardy, easy to grow herb that is wonderful to add to chicken, gravy or you can grow it now and dry it for thanksgiving dinner.
Your child will need to do some research, reading labels and math in purchasing and measuring: plant depth, amount of fertilizer or spacing and even how much potting soil is required. Let them make mistakes of planting too close or not deep enough. These are safe, valuable lessons to be learned in following instructions. Some things they will need to consider are good soil, liquid plant food, plant-depth, sunlight, maintenance and how to harvest, With an established plant, you can harvest it 2 or 3 times over the summer. Once harvested your child can either use the leaves fresh, refrigerate them, dry them in the sun, or even freeze them. As simple as herbs are to grow, be prepared that some may not turn out as planned. A simple plant purchase can redeem an aspiring gardener to experience the taste of their labors.
There are a lot of really simple-to-grow herbs and plants that your child can harvest for food. These just happen to be a few of my favourites. Other plants to consider include oregano, thyme, rosemary, cilantro and parsley. Whether your herb garden is indoors or out, your family will have a fresh selection to pick from whenever you have these plants on hand and your child will proudly share the fruits of their labor and hopefully have an attentive audience to tell you all about it.
There are other things I like about easy-to-grow herbs and veggies. Having them in your home means you'll be a bit more adventurous with your cooking, and you'll be inspired to branch out and try new cuisines. Kids love growing plants, so it can make a fun activity to do with them. It's a great test of responsibility too.
Finally, plants help clean the air, and herbs in particular will add an amazing fragrance to your home. Nothing smells quite so good as basil plants in bloom!
Thanks for reading, and happy summer gardening!