If you’re a parent in the 21st Century, you probably have a hard time getting your children to stop staring at their phones or the TV. With the school holidays coming up, you’ll want to make sure your kids have plenty of activities to get them away from their screens and into the greens!
If we can get our children to become more invested in veggies, goodness and sustainable food processes, they’ll have a brighter future ahead of them. Try these easy gardening projects with your kids to show them how exciting it can be to learn about and experience how food is grown.
EGGS-TRA HAIRY PLANTERS
Create adorable, eco-friendly planters using eggshells and mustard, alfalfa or flax seeds. Carefully remove the top of an egg, empty it out and wash out the inside. Place a damp piece of cotton wool inside and sprinkle your seeds on top.
Draw a smiley face on your eggshell and over the next few days, you’ll begin to see the seeds sprouting upwards – and giving your little egg man a wonderful head of hair. This fun, educational activity is the perfect way to keep your children interested in gardening projects!
MENTAL FOR LENTILS
Packed with protein, fibre and carbohydrates, the unassuming lentil was actually one of the world’s very first cultivated crops. Known locally as imidumbe, this cousin of the pea requires very little water to grow and has a carbon footprint 43 times lower than that of beef – making it a great-tasting and environmentally-friendly substitute for meat. You can even use lentils to make a super tasty veggie burger!
With all that goodness and flavour, you’d think it would be more difficult to grow your own lentils at home but in this simple garden project, all you’ll need is: a few lentils, paper towels and a glass jar. Place sheets of paper towel into the jar until it’s completely full, then add just enough water to wet the towels. Now push your lentils along the side of the jar until you can see them fixed snugly between the paper towel and the glass.
Once the lentils have sprouted, they can be planted in the garden. If you’d like to eat your sprouts as they are, keep in mind that all jar-sprouted seeds should be blanched in boiling water before they’re eaten.
The leafy top of a beetroot is often chopped off and thrown away, but did you know that beet greens are actually the most nutritious part of the vegetable? Beet greens contain plenty of iron, magnesium, as well as vitamins A and K. So it’s easy to see why we’ve featured them as one of our Future 50 Foods.
Beet greens are also extremely easy to cultivate at home! All you need is a beetroot with its greens still attached and a shallow dish filled with water. Remove the greens and cut off the top of your beetroot, leaving about a centimeter of the vegetable behind. Put the beets cut-side down in your water and place on a sunny windowsill. Your little ones can monitor the growth and in just a few weeks, they’ll find a healthy head of beet greens ready to be added into the next family feast.
If you place a white flower in a vase with a mixture of blue food colouring and water, you’ll find that the petals will eventually begin to turn blue themselves. This activity is an interesting way to show your children how plants absorb nutrients and that whatever a plant takes in will affect the way it develops.
To try this experiment for yourself, you’ll need: 2 small vases, food colouring and 2 white flowers – daisies, roses and carnations work best. Pour water into the glass jars and place one flower into each vase. Add a few drops of food colouring into one of the vases and leave the other without colouring, so that you can gauge the change in the other flower.