Last week, I had a less than stellar parenting day. My 7-year-old daughter and I were going at it, head to head. There were lots of frustrating “can’ts, don’ts and won’ts” … mainly coming from me!
The rainy day was a perfect fit for our grumpy moods. By 4:30 in the afternoon, despite the rain, I knew we had to physically shift gears. So with raincoats on, we reluctantly headed outside. I quickly concocted a couple of garden tasks.
Within minutes, we both had our hands in dirt, and an instantaneous, remarkable shift took place. It was as if the burden of the day had been lifted, and we were connected again to ourselves and to each other. It was a much better place to be.
To some I may be stating the obvious. “Of course you were happy. That’s what nature does.” But for me, it was profound because we didn’t seek out a forest or a nature reserve. We didn’t run around in a large field, or walk along a beach to free our thoughts. We simply sat on our porch in the rain planting pots. Simple, as simple can be. But the affect was dramatic and I’ll store that memory for the next time we butt heads (and there will be a next time!)
Stained-Glass Pots and Sprouts
In case you’re wondering, we planted these colourful annuals in the pots we decorated the day before. So simple. So rewarding:
- Rip up pieces of different-coloured tissue paper.
- Using a paintbrush and slightly watered-down white glue, paint the tissue paper onto a terracotta pot with the glue.
- Let it dry and voila! A stained-glass pot! It’ll last longer with a coat of varnish.
The second task was planting seeds for spouts in clamshell containers, a great idea I got from the Trellis’ Kids Can Grow! issue. Again, so easy, and so rewarding. Especially when we saw the sprouts growing less than 48 hours later!
One side story I’d love to share… While doing a unit on communities, my daughter’s grade one teacher invited his students to design and create their own city out of old boxes and materials. They focused on the buildings and people that make up a city. But once they were part way through construction, it dawned on them that they had forgotten about parkland! As a result, they decided to add a third onto the end of the city because they couldn’t imagine living in a place without trees and nature nearby … and these are urban dwellers. All is not lost!
Summer is Almost Here
If you haven’t already planned your summer, TBG Kids has some incredible nature camps for kids of ages 3 to 11. They all take place in the Teaching Garden and the surrounding ravine. Space is running out, so sign up fast. Go to: torontobotanicalgarden.ca/learn/kids/summer-nature-day-camps-13/