August 4, 2014

Entertaining children..... in the garden

Pre-computers, pre-video games and with only 5 or 6 TV stations to choose from and NO central air.......summer as a child was all outdoors. From early morning until the fireflies stopped, our imaginations were on all cylinders with nature taking the leading role.

Not so these days. When my nephews were small and came to vacation at our home, I was thrilled at the adventures we could provide; a massive tree with branches to the ground (instant fort), a winding creek, pool with diving board, the woods and acreage to explore.......
"We want to stay inside and play video games!" 
I am grateful for my childhood summers as the idle time forced our imaginations into overdrive and set me on my career path.
Our father properly sowed the seeds........our own vegetable gardens to do as we wished. "Choose any vegetables you want!" he proudly proclaimed as we stood at the seed rack with a new found interest in veggies. He was magically brilliant!
 He built us a play house with my first window boxes to plant and first interior to decorate!
Engage your children, your grandchildren, hey ourselves, to explore the possibilities nature provides
Those take away chicken containers become mini greenhouses

Growing pumpkins or gourds? While the fruit is still small, lightly carve their name into the skin. They will love to watch their pumpkin grow as their name expands
Every kids dream. On second thought, I could go for this, think cocktails, conversation, and candles, the three 'C's'!
A shallow stream bed draws dragonflies, turtles, butterflies and frogs
Use Morning Glories!
Bok Choy in food coloring
Have been recommending this to clients for YEARS, those children now have children. The original and the best

Goes for all of us doesn't it? And the real reason I wear dark gray nail polish......



  1. Debra, I remember as a child how we could not wait to get outside! Playing, having adventures, bike riding, swimming! Love all of these wonderful images!

    Featuring Artist John Matthew Moore
    The Arts by Karena

  2. Science,, is proving there is less asthma and other diseases, especially the inflammatory types, if children are raised on a farm with livestock. And the results last a lifetime.

    Best gardens for children are those fully realized by the adults in their life. Children love my garden, and it was designed from deep within the spiritual well. Which is forever young.

    Science proves kids with autism do better with animals in their life. Increase this with animals in nature known by science to aid even the 'healthy' children.

    More, the fun you have listed !

    How many will have the pleasures of gardening, as we did, in the beginning for decades, without the cell phone? Rare is the afternoon I have in the garden without it. A year can pass. Am self employed.....must answer.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  3. Just delightful! Reading this brings back such great childhood memories of digging in the dirt. Well, my brothers, sisters and I called it dirt while our parents would always say soil :) Happy August to you, my friend. Cheers from sunny Maine ~ L

  4. Debra, this post brought a huge smile to my face. My siblings and I spent many happy days in my grandmothers garden making mud "tacos" from morning glory leaves. We loved planting flowers and growing things with her and each morning ran out to see what came up or was ripe enough to pick.

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. ha! this is so great, debra. some of these take me back to my childhood. i think we used celery in the dye. and i remember the magic of watching peanut sprouts during jimmy carter's reign! there were all sorts of unsuccessful projects too...homemade lilac perfume, anyone? smiles to you.

  6. I can't even begin to tell you how much I love this! This is REAL life-- the way I grew up, too. This year I let my 4-year-old plant hyacinth bean vines in her own little patch of yard. She proudly announces to visitors that this is HER garden. It's priceless to watch.

    There are so many great ideas here-- love that yard scrabble. It's making me want to get moving again!


  7. Is all that your garden? Love the playhouse, it's awesome! The entire garden in amazing, there are so many fun and beautiful things there.
    Carpet cleaners Balham

  8. This takes me back to my childhood. I grew up on a farm, not in a subdivision with playmates all around. I was the mud pie queen! Lovely photos!

  9. I love this Debra. The simple pleasures are certainly the best with children and adore exploring the great outdoors with my 2 1/2 year old grandson. Seeing the world through their eyes is amazing!

  10. Debra,
    This is so timely...we're babysitting our 3 1/2 year old granddaughter. We've already made Rice Krispie treats and worked in the garden. We have plans to be in the garden again this week. I'm with you, exposure to these activities plant the seeds...look how much inspiration your dad provided you. I hope he got to see how talented you are. I'm pinning these ideas for Olivia and hopefully other grand babies. I love the m & m rocks

  11. Debra! I loved this post and you have so many great examples of what to do in the garden with children. Thank you for all of your great suggestions. Now, I want a stream in my backyard!!

  12. My son and daughter always "worked" hand in hand with me in the garden from the time they were quite small. Although they complained, they both have beautiful gardens of their own now. I know they will pass the love on to their own children when the time comes! One funny story, my yard used to be filled with daylillies and it was Jenna's job to dead head them. As you know they only last a this day I have yet to spy a daylilly in her yard!!

  13. Gorgeous!!! How very beautiful everything looks! How I love the big bucket of flowers. I can look at your garden, and your beautiful home all day. It makes me happy!
    Wonderful Garden

  14. A fun way for children to enjoy gardening. It creates a smile on both young and adult. Nice!

    Patrick Tan

  15. I love the M&M rocks. What a fun project for kids. The stream bed is wonderful and all of the areas for adults and kids to play! Wonderful! xo, N.G.


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