In The Garden

Cultivating a garden stains your hands but clears your mind
[Ramon Eder]

A garden…possibly the most coveted thing in this quarantine.
Haven't we all somehow turned back into getting our hands dirty these days, gardening or baking, to find some comfort?
We have, despite living in a small London flat with a small kitchen.
We've also kind of been reflecting on priorities, on how basic and vital is the connection with nature, which we give for granted when we can run easily to the park any time and we can travel on a regular basis out of the city.

So we have taken our gardening books out of the shelves (will try to do some stories about some of our favourites) , and have so very much looked forward to our Mud and Bloom subscription box to arrive (thank you postman!).

Even if you don't have a private garden or if you have a tiny one, you still can engage your children with some soil and seeds, just with some empty egg boxes and a bag of compost.

This is the perfect season to experiment as plants grow really fast and there are so many things you plant, starting from herbs for you kitchen. Observing the sprouting process is very rewarding for children and will keep them busy for a while, especially if they can write and keep a garden journal.

Younger children can check the humidity of the soil, water daily the pots with small jugs,  they can explore parts of the seed and plant with 3-part cards to expand their vocabulary (if you have them, or you can draw together and write on pieces of card).

One of the seeds that gave us the most satisfaction was a bean, which we sprouted in a glass jar (simply line a glass jar with a double folded piece of kitchen, place a bean between the paper and the glass, then keep the paper wet until it sprouts) then planted into a tiny terracotta pot where it has been growing like crazy climbing on its stick.  In fact the stem of the bean plant naturally rolls up onto itself. 
Honestly, watching a dry bean 'regenerating' shredding its skin and giving life to a new plant was fascinating for me as well.

Another reason why I love books about seasons is because they reiterate and reinforce the sense of time (which has gone lost lately, especially for little ones). Every day is like the previous one and the following one for humans stuck at home, but nature goes on and what we see from our windows changes very quickly in Spring.

'The Garden' has just been published in English and it's a beautiful large format book filled with delicate, sophisticated illustrations and many flaps. We love flaps in books for all ages: they animate the book encouraging interaction and facilitate comprehension and memory.
Not a thick challenging non-fiction book, this is a light overview on basic seasonal changing with a few highlights on what animals and plants are up to and what we can do to make them thrive.

I usually struggle to find age-appropriate non-fiction books that can work with both my daughters, this features the right amount of information and interaction to delight them both.

Check it out!

Nell'orto [1 January 2018]
by Emma Giuliani
Italian edition published by Timpetill

The Garden [7 April 2020]
English-language edition published by Princeton Architectural Press

Reading age: 3-6
Themes: Nature, Non-Fiction, Gardening, Seasons

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