Updated: October 2, 2019 5:32:00 pm
By Kuhoo Gupta
The recent speech by Greta Thunberg at the UN Climate Committee had the top leaders and organisations stand up and take notice. A 16-year old environmental activist, Greta truly believes that no one is too small to make a change.
Since charity begins at home, it is best to have an environmentally conscious atmosphere at home where all members of the family do not take the environment for granted. To start with, you can grow a small window garden of plants and flowers with your child and kickstart your young one’s journey into nature and appreciating its bounty.
Since the aim here is to be environmentally conscious and judicious, we can make use of waste materials and reuse them for creating something useful. Here are some steps that you and your child can take to make your nature-friendly window garden.
1. Use discarded plastic bottles, cooking oil cans, plastic containers to make planters. Avoid buying new pots from the market as this will encourage recycling too. Make do with what you have at home.
2. Grow easy to grow plants in it like aloe vera, which you can use for its medicinal value as well.
3. Use discarded glass bottles to grow money plant using the water hydroponic method. This will open up new windows to kids that some plants can grow without soil and expand their knowledge about plants and their care.
4. Select seeds from your kitchen masala box and sow them to study the germination process with your child. You can easily use seeds like fenugreek, coriander and fennel.
5. Use a cutting of a store-bought herb like mint to propagate roots. Just take one stem of mint and remove 2-3 leaves from the bottom leaving 1-2 leaves at the top. Place this stem in a glass of water and let it sit for a week. You will see new roots developing from the stem in water. You can either let this stem grow new leaves in water itself or plant it in the soil and enjoy homegrown fresh mint.
6. Ask your child to tend to the plants. Ask her to water it regularly with just the right amount, observe their growth and make sure they are protected. This will not only bring about an appreciation in them for the entire process but will also teach them to be responsible and accountable for their actions.
Of course, they will now understand the process of germination and the importance of water, soil and sun much clearly than in their classes.
Importance of gardening with children
Gardening with children engages them in activities where they can deploy all their senses and efforts for a fruitful conclusion. Gardening teaches children to be:
Empathetic: They understand that plants are living creatures and need to be treated with care and nurtured with love. Subsequently, this feeling extends to other living beings as well.
Patient: Plant growth takes time. Gardening teaches children about the virtue of patience.
Responsible and accountable: Now that they are sowing the seeds and taking care of their nourishment, children believe these plants are their responsibility. This makes them accept accountability for their actions.
Creative: Sometimes plants do not grow according to rules and established guidelines. They might need something extra. This teaches children to think of solutions that are out-of-the box and creative to enable the plant’s survival.
Mindful: Plants are delicate and require great care. It allows children to give a thought to the situation’s sensitivity and be mindful of the practices they deploy during this or any other activity.
Hard-working: As we know, gardening is no easy task and requires hard work. Therefore, it goes without saying that children who help their parents in gardening understand the importance of hard work.
Self-confidence: Watching their fruits of labour grow help children believe that they are capable of great things and need to have self-confidence.
Healing: Gardening is the perfect way to be in touch with the soil and this helps in balancing the Earth element in a person. Remember we all are made of five elements and according to alternate medicine, if there is an imbalance in these five elements, it manifests as physical, mental, emotional ailments. The activity is a great way to be grounded and stay in sync with our natural earth element.
Gardening is a perfect way to contribute to the environment, help bond with children and improve emotional intelligence in young tykes who will grow into admirable human beings as well as the pillars of the society.
(The writer is founder of The K Junction.)
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