Warning, this post is picture heavy. With nine children, it's a little hard to narrow things down...
My children love to be in the garden.
For some, it's all about getting dirty.
For others, it's all about planting and watching your seeds grow.
For for the babies, it's all about eating.
Getting our children out in the garden and teaching them to till the soil, plant seeds, nurture their seedlings, and protect their plants from bugs and disease is an education worth spending time on. You will rarely find me out in the yard without a trail of little ones following behind. If I announce I'm going out to plant, they come from all corners of the house wanting to help. I wish I got the same response when I announce I'm heading out to pull weeds...
I believe in getting back to nature, to the simple things in life, and simple pleasures. Using the garden as a tool to teach more about God and His amazing creation, casting out all doubt that there could ever be anything other than a Great Creator involved in intricately designing the earth and all that is in it. How can a tiny lifeless looking seed become a great tree which produces delicious fruit?! Only by divine design.
I also believe that there is coming a day when we will have the need for knowledge such as this. Maybe not in my lifetime, or my children's or their children, but I do believe it will be a much needed and desired knowledge for our future generations. Passing down self-sustaining wisdom may be the only legacy we are able to leave behind.
On to brighter things, there are several ways to allow your children to help out. Mine love to pack dirt in little pots, plant seeds, dig holes, till the ground, and WATER! I think they love to water more than anything. Which often results in a thoroughly wet child.
Buy them their own spade and watering can.
Get them a pair of rubber boots and gloves.
Let each child pick out a specific fruit or vegetable they would like to take care of, from start to finish. Our children each choose two vegetables, one fruit tree, and two herbs they are responsible for, from planting through harvesting.
Help them to identify harmful pests, diseases, and the signs that the plants may need water or food.
Allow them to harvest and present the fruits of their labor. They are always excited. OK, I admit, I get excited too. If you happen to be the fortunate person who walks into our home during the summer, you will be bombarded with children anxious to show you what they have grown or harvested from the garden. It never gets old to them.
Teach them how to make a garden plan, save their seeds, and store their harvest.
And never pass up a teaching opportunity. Always show how grateful you are to the Lord for His many blessings through the fruits of your labor.