Lessons from Sunflower Seeds and Shelling Peas

There is so much happening on the farm now, it is hard to find time to write about it. We are already into our fourth week of the CSA season, and strawberries are sadly winding down already.  Deer attacked our late strawberry planting, so the season will end a little earlier than we hoped.  We are also harvesting spring onions, radishes, tons of lettuce, spinach, arugula, cilantro and peas.

A couple of weeks ago we went to a birthday party and one of the party favors was a little plastic pot with sunflower seeds that children could water and watch the plants grow.  I tried to direct my 5 year old toward something else, like the little boxes of crayons or bouncy balls figuring we see enough seeds and plants at home.  But he wanted the little pot and brought it home.  I was very surprised to see it became his new favorite thing for a while, he woke up each day and rushed straight to his little pot to check on the seedlings.  I realized that even though he sees us raise plants by the thousands, it is entirely different to care for your own.  So, I am thinking he needs more of his own farm projects that are on his scale.

Along those lines, we had some shelling peas last week and that was another great project for both children 2 and 5.  They both focused for about 40 minutes on splitting and sorting the peas.  And it naturally followed that they were much more excited to eat the peas that they shelled. It reminds me to look for more opportunities for farm projects that are on the right scale for the children to naturally engage in.

Today we attended our first 4-H meeting around the corner from our house.  There we worked on planting another little garden. It will be interesting to see how that group takes shape and to learn from some teachers who have lots of experience with engaging children on farms.

Have you had any great experiences working in gardens with young children?


  1. I’m so excited for my little ones to be able to join me in the garden…here is an activity I found on pinterest (prob better for your littlest one) http://secondstorywindow.typepad.com/home/2012/04/seed-fun.html and I’ve also seen sprouting seeds inside empty CD cases so you get an upclose look at the roots/shoots. Pretty cool. Right now my 2 year old can only concentrate on “picking” things so I usually end up sending her off into the yard to pick dandelions & clover 😉

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