I still remember it like it was yesterday. My son’s face lit up as we set off on our adventure. He sat on the far side of the boat and could not wait to see what Living with the Land involved. We had only told NHL that there would be surprises that included lots of fruits and vegetables that would make him hungry.
My kindergartener could not decide which way to look. In every direction, there were plants – big and small – that kept his interest. He could read the signs and was dancing in his seat when we sailed by all of the rows of strawberry plants. I almost expected him to try to jump out of the boat to get some to snack on.
When we got off the ride, NHL wanted to know why the plants were growing differently and SO big. TechyDad and I recalled some of the information we learned from a behind-the-scenes tour we took on our honeymoon. Our son loved this information and asked to go back on the ride again. This time, he wanted to really pay attention to the items that we had mentioned.
NHL’s reaction to the plants made us want to try to grow some of our own vegetables and spices. For years, we had tried to grow vegetables at our house. Almost every year something happens that destroys our small attempt to grow something to eat. Bunnies, hail, birds, and the hot August sun have not been kind to our plants. Still, something in The Land made us want to try it again.
When we got home from our trip, we made a plan to get some plants. Since it was late May, it was a bit too late to start from seedlings. The boys wanted to get items that they had seen during our Epcot tour. We pulled out our photos and made a list of some possible items to look for. In the end, we bought tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, peppers, basil, pumpkins, and sun flowers. We watched over these plants, brought the pots inside in severe weather, and actually ate a few items from them.
Our success inspired us to start with seeds the following year. The kids were eager to learn and we knew that children that are active participants in their food making, often will try items. So we figured this added yet another dimension.
Of course, the teacher in me saw great learning opportunities including:
- Go over the basics that plants need to thrive
- Draw plants and label all of the parts
- Make a grow journal. Report growth of the seedlings and any observations. Draw pictures or take photos.
- Watch to see how plant movement is sensitive to light position changes.
- Guess which seeds will grow first. Keep track of your hypotheses and see how it turns out.
- Try different ways to grow your items. Be inspired by Living with the Land. Maybe grow some tomatoes in an upside down Topsy Turvy.
- Older children can also research more about the techniques used within Living with the Land.
Last years plants grew big, but we never had any vegetables. Still our kids loved going outside to our very own version of The Land. The time spent together learning about plants and realizing how lucky we are to have farmers to help us with our crops was priceless.
Do you have any plans to create your own version of Living with the Land at your house?