Last year we had several opportunities to teach young children about where food comes from, about nature, life and our connection with it. These youngsters helped us with many chores including weeding, planting, collecting eggs and feeding chickens. They observed bugs, frogs and birds while soaking up the sunshine and getting dirty.
Our niece came for a visit late in the season. Our first dinner together she told me that she hated carrots and was wanting to try new foods. A lot of the food we served seemed strange to her at first. A lot of children have no idea where food comes from or how it is created. They have no appreciation for real food because they have not been involved in the process of creating it.
Children are capable of far more than we give them credit for. Often we intervene in their growth and development by assuming they can’t do certain tasks. If they show an interest – why not let them try? Why not teach them?
Here’s a little peek into a day on the homestead with our young niece.
Every morning after breakfast she would grab her egg basket and race to the coop
Open the nesting box hatch, it’s a bit tricky and sometimes needs two hands.
Open the hatch and carefully peek inside to make sure no chickens are busy laying. Carefully remove all of the eggs.
Place the eggs in the basket because they are delicate & bring them to the kitchen (walking – no running!) and then wash hands with soap and water. It’s important to wash your hands when touching farmish things.
We collected food for lunch and dinner, learning to pull up carrots just the right way so they don’t snap. We also found some cute items for her collection: baby garlic, baby apples, carrots, pebbles, feathers and so many other little treasures.
Pumpkins were harvested and made toasted pumpkin seeds, desserts and of course jack-o-‘lanterns
We gathered apples from wild trees, planted garlic & onions. Drank fresh apple juice and ate home dried fruit.
The important collection of birch bark, pine cones and leaves to study and also for fire starters.
Working The Land
Prepared a field for planting: including picking rocks. She even noticed when the harrow lost a tooth!
Crafts & Nature Study
We picked wildflowers, leaves and other homestead treasures, They were carefully studied and pressed into books.
Routine & Chores
We also had to feed the chickens twice a day. Children love routine and homesteading is very routine oriented.
Having never really experienced things like planting seeds, harvesting food and seeing where eggs come from before, she learned a lot during her visit to our homestead. She worked hard and was an eager helper. She learned how to plant garlic, the correct way up. Her small hands filled in the holes and tamped down the soil. We explored and discovered many new things like: bees pollinating, birds flying south & chickens pecking.
It was such a joy to experience the beauty of this land through her eyes while also sharing the love we have for this land with her.
We even convinced her to eat the carrots she pulled from the garden. Something she refused to eat her first night here. Soon the strange foods we had presented had more meaning and were more exciting to eat! There’s so much stimulation and growth that comes from being in the wild and experiencing nature.
Get outside and rewild the kids in your life and don’t forget just how capable kids are of accomplishing many tasks. Put them to work and help them grow!
This post was originally published on steemit.com