If you are looking for an interactive way to teach your child about various science topics, consider starting a home fruit and vegetable garden. Not only can it introduce information regarding botany and food production, it can also provide insights into the science behind composting, how to properly handle pest issues, and so much more.
A home garden is a wonderful way to show children how plants live and grow. Depending on the season, you can even start with simple seeds and explore the various starting methods that allow your child to observe the process from start to finish.
Time can be spent exploring how plants are pollinated, whether it be through the presence of certain insect, like bees, or based on the human contact. They will have the opportunity to watch as the plants flower, as well as when the first signs of a fruit or vegetable begin to show. They can observe the rate at which the fruits and vegetables grow, even measuring their progress as they become ready for harvesting.
You can expand the garden to contain more than your everyday basics as a way to introduce your child to unique plants they may not be as familiar with, such as Goatsbeard or Monstera Deliciosa, as long as the plants are designed to grow in a climate or region similar to your own. You can also explore different variants of more common fruits and vegetables, such as Okinawan Purple Sweet Potatoes or rainbow carrots.
Not only can these activities teach a child how the process works, it can also help them create a connection between themselves and fresh foods. It can also promote exercise by having them assist with maintenance tasks, such as weeding or harvesting.
Composting can provide more than just an excellent source of organic matter for your soil, it can also teach children about the workings of decomposition. Whether you prefer to use a premade composter, like a durable compost tumbler by Mantis, or a homemade version, you can teach your child about the importance of limiting waste and how things like food scraps can be turned into food for the plants in the garden.
You can teach your child what foods should or should not be composted, as well as observe as the materials break down. For those who prefer to see the process work a bit more quickly, using a vermicomposting system can help a child understand how other creatures can use our scraps for their own food, and then how their waste can be used to grow healthier foods.
Whether it is insect or rabbits, deer or mice, many gardens will become victim to some form of pest at some point. If you come out to your garden and notice any damage, take the opportunity to help your child explore the cause. Consider looking for tracks to see if it was a rabbit, mouse, or deer. Examine the plant leaves looking for various kinds of insects or discoloration that may indicate the cause.
Once a cause is identified, consider which methods may help protect your garden from further damage. For example, if a rabbit is to blame, it may be wise to discuss how a person may keep rabbits out and allow your child to brainstorm ideas with you.