This summer I had a grand plan. The grand plan that I have every year. I was going to plant a garden. I really shouldn’t say was. I still might. It is June, but, oh well, I’m a novice. It will either work or it won’t. Kale is hard to kill anyway, right?
While my raised beds remain bare, the girls and I did manage to get a few things planted. I knew that we wouldn’t make it through the summer if we didn’t have a couple of fresh items on hand: tomatoes, strawberries, and basil. Tomatoes because the girls and I can eat those by the crate full, strawberries because it’s summertime, and basil because I don’t know what summer would be without Caprese salad.
Obviously, gardening is a new endeavor for us. We enjoy being outside. We enjoy fresh food. Why not mix them all together? I wanted the girls to be able to join in the experience with me and learn with me what it takes to take care of the garden. They may need to be a little bit older to learn how to plan and prepare for a garden, but they are certainly of the age that they can help take care of it. So, we need watering cans. We went to the hardware store and turned right around; $12 for something that is just going to water plants? I couldn’t justify it. We went to Walmart. Plastic for $5. We can do better, I thought. This was nothing that a little creativity couldn’t fix. So we got home and set to work. Set to work drinking milk, that is. The carton was the perfect shape for a watering can, and complete with handle! It took us a week and a half to get through two cartons in preparation for our craft. We were also going to need paper that was worthy of the project. I found an awesome assortment of gardening scrapbook paper on Amazon, and with our Prime subscription, it arrived in only two days. We were set that weekend to try making our watering cans and to try paper mache for the first time. It was lots of fun. Maddie was a lot more meticulous with the placement of her paper. Riley enjoyed the activity but was soon lured away by the water table, and I had to finish up for her. In fairness, Maddie did have a nap that day.
As far as the end goal of having the girls help me with the garden, these watering cans have definitely worked. We water our deck crops each night that it doesn’t rain, and so far, all of them are hanging in there. Here’s hoping for a wonderful harvest this year!
What You’ll Need:
For the glue:
- Cut the paper into your desired length strips. I did this craft with a toddler and a four-year-old so I made my strips pretty thick.
- Make the glue by adding the water, vinegar, and salt to a medium saucepan and begin to heat. Stirring consistently with a whisk, slowly add the cornstarch to ensure there are no lumps. Bring the mixture to a boil while continuing to stir. It will soon turn thicker and cloudy. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Once cool, begin adding the paper strips to the milk carton by covering them with the glue and pressing them flat. It’s really quite easy. Allow the milk carton to dry when you are done.
- Use the hammer and nail to make holes in the lid to the milk carton.
That’s it! Enjoy a season-long watering adventure in the garden.
Nurture the Experience
People plant gardens for many different reasons. It’s a relaxing pastime that allows you to get out of the house, but also it provides you with healthy fruits and vegetables to eat. Rather than just telling kids that fruits and vegetables are healthy for them and leaving it to them to hypothesize what exactly that might mean or not even think about it at all, talk to them about the benefits. Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals. Explain to your kids that vitamins are more than just the gummies that they get every morning. They are essential compounds that help the body to function properly and to fight against disease. You can give some examples like Vitamin A helps to keep skin healthy and fight against infection. It can be found in oranges, watermelon, and spinach (among others). Find out more about different vitamins and what fruits or vegetables they can be found in here.
Have a kid with a lot of imagination? This is a great book for kids who are always seeking a little more adventure. In this book, the main characters want to plant a garden for their parents. They get a bit sidetracked becoming detectives in their own backyard. With many discoveries and adventure they learn more about the nature in their own backyard than they expected. Follow up this read by having your own exploration with your kids in your yard.
If you’re gardening, then you are bound to find some bugs. Or a lot of bugs. I have one child who loves them and one who doesn’t. This book is sure to delight those kids who love bugs. This book is written in rhymes and has a rhythm that reminds me of Jamberry by Bruce Degen. It, of course, explores different types of bugs with fun pictures and a bit of humor.
Speaking of Jamberry, this is a great read for summer and especially if you are planting berries. It is one of my girls’ favorites. Of course, that might be because I enjoyed reading it to them so much. This rhyming book talks about berries with adorable pictures of a bear and boy who are enjoying each different kind. If you take the time to read the inside cover, you will find an endearing story of why the author wrote the book. A classic.