Just like all the indoor nooks and crannies to explore, there are lots of worlds to explore outside the house as well—take the garden & gardening. It is easy to get babies involved in some developmentally appropriate aspect of the gardening process depending on their age. Having a family vegetable garden is a great long term project with rich learning over lots of years because despite most evidence that food comes from a grocery store, whenever possible creating small gardens will help our children develop a deeper appreciation and relationship with plants, foods, and the elements that go into a meal– the foundations for nutritional intelligence and healthy eating practices.
For the younger set, it does not have to be to complicated. “What’s dirt” is a great adventure for a infant. They love getting their hands in it and discovering the properties of earth. Watch this baby video I found on youtube; the baby is enthralled by exploring the dirt and why he can’t get it off his hands. Wet dirt can be very sticky– she is discovering.
Here is an older toddler, my daughter Whitney, discovering the joys of harvesting the Rosemary:
Lastly, at 2.5 years they can get involved in more complicated tasks for the garden, like painting the square foot gardening box:
Participating in as many aspects of the family garden as possible gives your baby a great start in their relationship with food and eating habits. If they helped make it, there is a much better chance they will eat it!!