As parents one of the most difficult things we can try to do is to get our children to eat vegetables. Often vegetables are seen as anything but fun and tasting horrid when the opposite is most certainly the case but children, being children, and being of their own independent minds need help and encouragement.
Children also need encouragement when it comes to the outdoors especially in today’s society where video games, the Internet and the most sophisticated of toys are on offer. So how to combine the outdoors with an affinity for vegetables in your children; the answer an allotment.
I Don’t Have an Allotment What Should I Do?
An allotment doesn’t have to be council owned or parish council leased. An allotment can be a spare plot of land at the bottom of your garden or even inside your greenhouse (if you have one) inside some grow bags. If you have access to proper allotments so much the better but if not don’t panic.
I Have a Spare Plot in the Garden
Children love getting dirty, they love mud and they love water so an allotment is a good place to combine all three. Get them to help you dig it over and pick out any sods of clay or hardened earth that will be of no use. Also mud and soil is full of creepy crawlies and worms which children also love so getting them to help you will also be educational for them. Give them their own children’s gardening tools too this will make them feel grown up.
The Wonders of the Underground
Give the children notepads and pencils and let them draw the worms and creepy crawlies they come into contact with. This will be educational and fun and you may find at the end of the process they are more knowledgeable then you might first have thought they would be. You could also encourage them to start a worm farm so they can watch the worms grow and burrow for themselves.
From the Ground to the Table
You may find it easier to get your children to eat their greens if they know where they come from and indeed if they have had a hand in their growing. Encourage them where possible to help you plant seeds or plantlets and also – with their notepads – have them take measurements and record the dates the vegetables were planted.
If you can encourage them to participate in the growing of something like carrots for example and then allow them to see what happens when the carrots go from the ground to the dinner table you may find that they are more willing to try them than they were before.
Many children see vegetables as coming from tins or from bags but for a child to be involved in the growing of their own food and watching it happen may just instil in them more of a willingness to eat them.
Let Them Help You Prepare the Produce for Tea
Where you can – and again depending on their age – you can allow the children to help you prepare the vegetables to be eaten. Let them help you wash the earth off anything that comes out from the ground and let them help you pick anything that comes from plants above ground. If you have been growing peas let them help you shell them, the most important thing is to get them involved in as many stages of the process as you can and you will soon notice just how much they like eating their greens.