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Did you know that April is Earth month? I mean…being citizens of this planet, I guess every month is kind of Earth month. In fact, we’ve been working on being Earth friendly here at home, since we’re in charge of whether these kids of ours will be litterbugs or responsible little earthlings.
It is overwhelming, sometimes, to think about all of the things that we need to teach our kids. It’s more important than ever that kids understand things like conservation and how their actions have a big impact on the world around them, but if we break it down into simple rules and activities it feels easier. For example, we have a rule in this house that we turn lights off to save energy. The kids don’t exactly know where energy comes from or how much energy is wasted by each lightbulb, but they know that it’s a nice thing to do for the planet so they do it. In the same vein, they turn the water off (to save the fishes), always put trash in receptacles (to save the birds), and don’t use more toilet paper or tissues than they need to (to save the trees). Again, they don’t exactly understand the connection but they understand that it’s important and I’m just happy that they’re starting these good habits young.
I’m not a “granola mom” so sometimes I do feel a bit guilty that we aren’t raising our own chickens and adding our veggie scraps to our compost bin. That’s why I’m very grateful for companies like Tom’s of Maine that create great products for our family without bringing unnecessary chemicals into our home. By being a smart shopper, I can feel good about how “green” our family is becoming.
To make Earth month more tangible for the kids, we’ve been spending some time in the garden. I’ve broken down our upcycled kids container garden to give you a step-by-step cheat sheet for making your own little bit of earth. It’s been a fantastic way for the kids to exercise their power to help nature along just a bit.
To start, you need a container. We use a broken water table that we picked up for free at a garage sale, but you could also use a large plastic tub, sandbox, kiddie pool, etc. I punched a few holes in the bottom of the tub to let some of the water drain out, but since we live in a desert climate I wasn’t too worried about water build up. If you live in a more humid area, you’re probably going to want to make sure there’s a way for extra water to drain out of your garden.
Then, I created our bit of earth by layering perlite, peat moss, and potting soil in that order. The perlite is important because it helps with moisture drainage, the peat moss is important because it helps keep the moisture near the roots, and the potting soil has all the plant food your seeds need to start growing.
From here, you can choose whether you want to plant starter plants that are already going or seeds that will need a little TLC. Last year we used starter plants exclusively and had a beautiful herb and vegetable garden that lasted all summer, but this year I really want Eva to make the connection between these tiny seeds and food we can eat.
That being said, I didn’t want the kids to lose enthusiasm for taking care of their garden since we won’t “meet” these plants for a while, so we did add a nice flower and I let them plant a pair of pinwheels.
And that’s our little garden! We just need to water it a bit every other day and pretty soon we should have a nice selection of herbs for our kitchen and our kids will be that much closer to growing up Earth smart.
If you’re looking to make your home a little more green and chemical free, definitely check out the products from Tom’s of Maine. You can find them in the personal care section of Walmart and we’ve found that they work better, smell better, and taste better than other brands that we were using previously. The kids toothpaste in particular is a huge hit around here! Click here to get $1.00 off any Tom’s of Maine purchase.
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