Working in the Garden with Kids

posted in: Parenting | 8

Today I’m blogging about Gardening With A Toddler over at In All You Do.  As you know, when kids are in the picture, chores and tasks just take longer. Now that we’re not restricted to indoor gardening (i.e. growing romaine lettuce from kitchen scraps), it’s been great to get outdoors and really work with the plants.

Our son loves working in the garden — but maybe that’s because he has lots of cool kid-sized garden tools, and even a neat digger that our neighbors gave us.

Working in the Garden With Kids - BPhotoArt.com

The weather took a while to get warmer, so we had to delay planting some of our seedlings. But my son was thrilled to help care for them as we set them outside each day, then took them in for the night. We even had to take in the hanging plants I got for Mother’s Day several times as it dropped to almost freezing several nights in a row.

Working in the Garden with Kids - BPhotoArt.com

Working in the garden with kids can be such a great learning experience though. When we were at a friend’s house to get seedlings, I learned a lot about heirloom tomato varieties and hybrides. Interestingly, this same friend who gave us our tomato seedlings was able to give us a black cherry tomato variety when Toby choose black as the color tomato he wanted (over pink or orange). We’ll see how things grow!

Plaints Waiting to be put into the ground - Working in the Garden with Kids - BPhotoArt.com

Here are some photos of our spring gardening; click on any thumbnail to enter gallery view:

Gardening Tips + Resources

If you’re looking for gardening tips and resources, here are some of my favorites.  I’ve listed specifically links for working in the garden with kids, but make sure to check out my Pinterest board too — I’m always pinning neat ideas about gardening there when I find tips online.  Links will open in a new window for your convenience.

Follow Betsy @ BPhotoArt.com’s board Greenery + Gardening on Pinterest.

Working in the Garden with Kids - BPhotoArt.com

Do You Have Tips for Working in the Garden with Kids?

Do you have any go-to ideas for getting kids to work well in the garden with you? What about suggestions of things to NOT do? I’d love to hear your stories and thoughts in the comments section!

Making Sense of Words

posted in: Parenting | 15

Last night my toddler read his first two words. We’d spent a few minutes in the afternoon playing what I named “The Almond Game” — an Egg Carton Reading game based on the book, Teach Your Child to Read in 10 Minutes a Day by Sidney Ledson (#afflink).

I had bought this book a year ago, when my then-two-year-old said he wanted to learn to read. We didn’t really do much with it at the time, but since we started working on letter recognition, I did bring it back out this week. And what a difference a year makes. It was impressive to see my son process the sounds and read two words on his first day of “lessons.”

Anyways, I’ve shared some “teaching reading” resources at the end of this post, but please first enjoy my poem inspired by my son’s new milestone (beginning to read). This bookworm mama is proud 🙂

Making Sense of Words

Letters and sounds
lines and curves
cover the pages of books.

A secret language
unreachable, unintelligible —
for the illiterate child.

Picture books are well and good
but nothing compares to
cuddling up with a good book
and letting the words come alive.

The desire to learn is there,
the goal to decode those mysterious
black and white lines
marching across page after page.

The letter’s name is not its sound
As the animal, a cow, says “moo”…
the letter U says “uhhh.”

What tricky business, separating
names from sounds — unlearning
the alphabet to learn how to
sound out the foreign words
comprised of familiar letters.

But success comes quickly for the young,
a glow of pride spreads from ear to ear
as not one, but two first words
are sounded out — independently.

“Uhh” …”Puh.” Up. Pup.
High fives awarded all around
my young reader beams
excited that the world of words
has finally been decoded —
the world of books is his.

Reading Resources

Here are some resources for teaching little ones how to read. Links will open in a new window for your convenience. Also, make sure to check out my Learning + Education Pinterest Board for more ideas.

Follow Betsy @ BPhotoArt.com’s board Learning + Education on Pinterest.

What About You?

Do you have any tips for cultivating the love of reading? Maybe a tried and true way of teaching sight recognition? I would love for you to share in the comments.

As for me, I’m looking forward to continuing to cultivate my son’s love of reading. Maybe “bookworm” is a nickname that will be generational 🙂 — based on how much he loves “reading” the pictures of books he knows, I’m thinking yes.

Making Sense of Words - Learning to Read Books

Family Finances, Kids and Money

posted in: Parenting | 4

I’m guest blogging over at Divas With a Purpose today… make sure to check out my post on Managing Personal Finances as a Family. You’ll learn about some essentials when it comes to managing family finances, plus get some great (easy) ideas on how to save yourself stress, time, and money.

Family Finances + Teaching Kids About Money

While I already shared a bunch of resources and activities for kids to learn about money over at Divas With a Purpose, here are some additional resources on family financial responsibility that I discovered in the past few days, and wanted to share with you!

Teaching Kids about Money

Kids learn by getting hands on. Though still a toddler, our son knows that leaving the lights on in an empty room wastes electricity (and money), and he has helped deposit his own birthday money in the bank. There was even one occasion where he had to pay for something he broke with some of his money. While not appropriate for all toddlers, this approach has certainly proved beneficial in our situation, as our son understands the value and perhaps even the concept of scarcity when it comes to money. At any rate, here are some tips from other parents on how to help toddlers through teens how to be responsible with money.

Money and Family Finances for Parents

Family finances don’t have to be difficult, sometimes you just have to think creatively. These resources are more parent/adult oriented, and range from how to save money at the grocery store to planning a fun (yet frugal) birthday party. There are also two savings challenges that you might check out — easy ways to put a little money away at a time, and end up with a lot at the end of the year!

More Resources for Family Finances + Money

You may also want to check out my Money + Financial Responsibility board on Pinterest.
Follow Betsy @ BPhotoArt.com’s board Money + Financial Responsibility on Pinterest.

What Are Your Ideas for Managing Family Finances?

Well, what about you? Have you come across ideas for making your family finances easy to manage? Do you have a great way to help kids understand the value of saving for a rainy day? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so leave a comment!

And if you haven’t already, make sure to head over to my guest post: Managing Personal Finances as a Family.

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