Gardening! The BEST (and LAZIEST!) Sensory Activity
Look - I love those Instagram sensory play shots of dried rice and chickpeas as much as anyone. I have also accepted, and embraced, that I am not the type of parent who prepares packages of pulses in delightful shades for them to throw all over the house. (I know, I'm the freaking worst!)
I will however:
- give you any expired dried/canned food to play with OUTSIDE
- support you in baking whatever tasty treats you fancy
- let you do (almost) anything you want in our vegetable garden
I think my kids are going to be ok.
We are lucky that the old, and half falling down house we bought a few years ago, has a great vegetable garden that we inherited from the older Danish guy who lived here - thanks Jon - I promise we're looking after it for you ❤️
So, here's why we think it's the the best, and laziest spring, summer and fall sensory activity out there!
It's cheap AF
All you need to get started is some pots, seeds and dirt. That's exactly how ours started many years ago. We've slowly been collecting the equipment over the years - a lot of it from garage sales. If you find tomato cages, or pots second hand - BUY THEM. Seeds are super cheap too. Dirt, similarly priced. You can start with a couple of packs of seeds and some kind of container, and that's it. Good small container stuff would be tomatoes, beans, lettuce mixes and herbs.
It's a sensory wonderland
There's dirt to put your hands in. There's water to play with. There's sun. There's wind. There's lifting. There's pulling. Eventually, there's chewing and eating. There's something for every sensory need, and it's sitting there anytime you want it. No chickpea dying necessary.
It exposes kids to new and unusual textures
One of the main struggles kids have with trying new foods is the unpredictability of textures. Kids can't help but want to try out the stuff they grow. And, it's a low cost way for them to do it. Experts say kids have to try a food at least ten times for them to decide whether or not they like it. That isn't possible within every budget. Growing your own is a budget-freindly way to do it.
There is something in the garden for everyone. You can wear your baby. You can put your baby or toddler in a seat or pack and play outside. The bigger kids can do more lifting. There's age appropriate play for everyone.
You can learn how to make, and recover from mistakes
My husband and I threw ourselves into vegetable garden back in 2009. We've done a ton of ridiculous things over the years, and it's made us better gardeners. And now that we have kids, they are heavily involved and invested in the garden. Sometimes things don't grow how you expect, sometimes you make mistakes, and that's totally fine.
"Lazy" gardening is still gardening
You will NOT find my garden tidy, or weed-free. It's sure as shit not "instagrammable" in the way we've come to expect. If you want to know who else's garden is like that - it's CBC gardener and one of my favourite sources of gardening knowledge, Ed Lawrence! We prioritize with what's important and leave the rest the way nature wants it - messy and beautiful.
Isn't that what the best lives are are all about?