What happens when you have a great activity planned for the kids and no one is interested? What about all your hard work and preparation? What about the great benefits of the activity you want the kids to receive? I believe children should not be made to participate in activities they are not interested in. I invite everyone to join us in what I have prepared, but if a child does not want to participate, that’s okay. If several children are not interested, maybe I need to take a look at what I am planning for them. I might be missing the mark about what is appropriate or interesting. Usually once I start an activity with the kids, those who were not interested at first see that we are having fun and join us anyway, but if they don’t, it’s no big deal. And sometimes the kids who want to do something else draw all of us into their game. We are flexible.
What do I do with the kids who are not interested in gardening? I built this giant garden for them to learn in, so they need to learn in it right? There are so many things the garden teaches it really doesn’t matter what they do in it, they are learning. I have some children who are still interested in picking weeds and harvesting and planting every day. But we have a massive garden and there is A LOT of work to be done in it. I let the kids plant until they don’t want to and then I finish it for them. I invite them to pick weeds but my husband and I spend many hours a week picking weeds so the garden can be successful. If they don’t want to pick vegetables, I have toys in the garden and a resting place for them to hang out. Everyone is happy in the garden, but they are happy doing different things. Some kids love to hunt for and watch bugs and creatures, some love to play in the gravel rocks and hunt for treasures there, and some like to pick produce every day the entire time we are in the garden. All of those are great ways to learn and they are all okay with me.
If none of the kids ever wanted to plant or pick would the garden still be a success? Yes, because they are getting sensory stimulation of all kinds in the garden, a very important part of their development. Even if I never brought them in the garden, it’s still important for their nutrition. We have totally chemical free food picked at the peak of ripeness (most of the time) and full of great nutrients. For me, that is worth all the effort I put into the garden. And I feel GREAT when I’m eating out of the garden with them. I have more energy and I feel good about what I’m putting in my body. I know it’s worth doing for them.
Since the garden is pretty big, there is a lot to do in it. Some children are losing interest because we’ve been picking and planting for months. That’s okay. Especially since they have already learned so much from the picking and planting they have done. Honestly sometimes I tire of picking and planting myself, but I know the amazing benefits we receive from it so I press on. And that’s my choice because I love the garden and I’m the one who wanted to do it. I’m don’t force the kids to participate. Doing that would make them dread the garden. People tell me all the time they won’t grow a garden as adults because they always had to work the garden as kids and hated it. I want the kids to come away from their garden experiences here with knowledge of how to make things grow, understanding the garden is ever changing and imperfect, and joy from the time they have spent in it. Letting them come in and out of the garden work is the best way to achieve that goal.