Best invention for babies in the new millennium? Apple sauce pouches. We are proud to have our writing sponsored by Tree Top today and help introduce their mess-free, pure fruit pouches.
Tree Top, the apple juice company I grew up with, is committed to raising good apples, which means they want to encourage families to grow things together and learn more about where food comes from and the joys of growing.
That’s why they’re teaming up with KidsGardening.org, a site that helps parents and teachers use gardening as a resource for learning.
Having just completed a project in my backyard — we have a new deck and pergola with those cool globe lights hanging across it — I wanted my kids to spend more time out there this weekend. It was easy to entice them when I pointed out all the plants with which they could actually interact. I do not have a precious attitude toward my garden.
Scarlett + Chloe require snacks before playing
A few months prior, we visited the Gardens at Lake Merritt in Oakland where we had fun walking through the paths and seeing all the landscape features. More than anything, however, we had fun with our senses.
Here’s what I learned makes a good sensory garden:
First, telling your kids it is a sensory garden. Now that they know it’s not just about LOOKING at the plants, consider these elements of a garden that may appeal to kiddos.
1) Smelly. Flowers usually offer something to the nose, but I especially like rosemary, mint, and lavender in a garden because you can grab them and then smell your fingers. Something toddlers may do anyway.
2) Pretty. Think about color combinations offered by both blooms and succulents. Going to the nursery and checking out the varieties is seriously fun with a kid who digs dirt. (See what I did there? Digs!)
3) Touch. Lambs ear, grasses, even spiky things are inviting to fingers. My friend and neighbor Nila’s drought-tolerant yard, pictured above, is a great example. Who can walk by without running their hand through those wispy grasses?
4) Listen. A ritual of opening your ears when you visit your garden is a super zen parenting move. Hopefully you’ll hear birds, insects, and if you have a water feature, you win.
5) Taste. Yes! Put stuff in your mouth. Grow herbs, berries, or go full on vegetable garden if you’ve got the space.
In my own backyard, I encouraged Scarlett and her friend Chloe to experiment with whatever they liked to make “perfume”, something I remember doing as a little girl.
They stayed at this table for over an hour, squishing lemons from our tree, mixing the juice with not-yet-ripe blackberries, rosemary, and flower petals.
I gave them some kitchen tools and a pair of clippers to help them stay busy. They tried to convince me to drink the resulting perfume, as they were tasting it themselves, but I declined this generous offer.
Are you feeling lucky? We’re giving away a bundle of goodies to 40 lucky entrants.
- “My Gardening Journal”
- Red Tubrug pail
- Kids gardening gloves
- Watering can
- Soft touch hand tool set
- Favorite Five Sprouting seeds
- Tree Top Apple Sauce Pouches
Thanks to Tree Top, a grower-owned co-op, deeply rooted in the communities where we work and live, for sponsoring my writing today. For every purchase of Tree Top Apple Sauce Pouches, Tree Top will donate a dollar to KidsGardening.org to help fund community garden projects and raise good apples across the country.