Monday, November 30, 2015

Encouraging kids for gardening

Gardening is a great experience and it is never too early to pass the joy of gardening to your little one. Plus, in this era where children prefer to be indoors, it can be a great way to stay outdoors, learn about nature and make some friends. The challenge for the parents is getting their kid to involve. The following tips will really help:

Make it interestingFor engagement of kids, the fun angle is really important. So, do take their opinion and keep their interests in mind.

Give them their kitYou can gift your child with a gardening kit on their birthday or a festival. The tools should be appropriate to their size and strength. A lot of bright colored options are available in the market. Do include a watering can since children love playing with water.

Choose plants that are easy to growTomatoes, mini cucumbers, peas, radishes and sunflowers are easy options which will grow relatively faster. Cumbersome plants initially will dissuade the kids from engaging further.

Assign a section of the gardening area You may even assign a section of the area to them which will inculcate ownership and responsibility among the kids with respect to maintenance of their space.

Fun activities in the garden Get involved with the kids to make handicrafts which will get them interested. A bird house is an interesting idea. You can also reuse/ recycle discarded CDs, foil, brooms to make scare crows. Ice-cream sticks can be used to name the plants. Old tyres can be used as plant protectors. You can also paint pots together. The kids can be motivated to grow plants in them.

Plant flowers Flowers attract ladybugs and butterflies. Children are intrigued by natural insects and flying creatures so this will encourage them to spend some time in the garden with these friends of nature.

Have planting competitions A competition among kids for planting flowers or cucumbers is a great idea to get them going. Guide them in the process and see how they fare.

Show kids how to compost It is a learning experience for kids to see how waste things from the kitchen can be used in the garden and help in growth and development of the plants.

Let the little ones do the watering Yes, since kids love to play with water, they shall lovingly take up this task. Make them a watering schedule and enjoy seeing them do the homework.
Gift your child this beautiful connection with nature.

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Monday, November 23, 2015

Gardening – A life skills teacher for kids

Yes it is true. While inculcating an interest for gardening might be a challenge for any parent, it does teach the kids a number of lessons for life. If you are still not sure about teaching your kid the art of gardening, the following brief about the lessons that gardening will pass on to your little one, might help:

Patience – Patience is indeed a virtue that is put into practice while planting the seeds, waiting for them to germinate, providing it with the right nutrition and finally seeing your efforts bear fruit. Hence, gardening will help your kid understand that often they need to be patient to get desired results.                                 
Gardening with kids- so many benefits to reap!
Discovering new things – For kids, nature can be like a box of surprises where they discover how does it feel to interact with Mother Nature, how waste from the kitchen can act as a fertilizer for the plants and the worms make growing happen. Or how new plants can grow from the seeds of the fruits of the old plants.

Hope – Along with patience, hope is another life skill learnt through gardening. When you involve your little one in planting a tomato plant, they will hope to have red tomatoes in some time. Parents do need to be vigilant and help the kids to obtain positive results initially so that they can learn to hope for the best with the efforts put in.

Admiration for nature – Gardening teaches the kids to love nature and its elements. Be it the flowers, butterfly or the ladybug or even the worms, each one has its importance in the chain of nature.

Being responsible – Another lesson for the kids who engage in gardening is responsibility. Watering the plants on a timely basis, fertilizing, keeping away pests from the plants, etc., develops ownership amongst the kids.            
making kids responsible and hardworking with gardening

Learning to go green – With lifestyle getting busier across the generations, pollution is also increasing. Therefore, gardening emphasizes the need to enjoy the blessings of nature, go green, become eco-friendly and advocates the growth of plants and vegetables around us.

Growing own food - Growing own veggies in own garden and relishing them too is fun for sure. It’s motivating for kids to grow for self use and learn to enjoy the fruits of their hard work.

Growth is a result of hard work – Gardening teaches this very important lesson of life – that growth in one’s life is not possible without hard work and effort.

With so many life skills to imbibe, kids must be involved in gardening.  So, get set go…learn while you grow!   

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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Creative ways to recycle or reuse common household items

If you have children at home, the number of things that they need is equally proportionate to the things that they can no longer use. For parents, the real challenge is how to effectively maintain a balance between these needs as well as keep their budget in check. If you as a parent believe in recycling stuff so that you can use them to cater to newer needs, you should definitely read ahead:

  1. From cracked ball to beautiful paper weight: It’s true – the rubber balls which crack and can no longer be played with, can be used as a paper weight by using pins to hold pressed sequins or beads on the exterior of the ball. You can also paint the surface of the ball to make it more attractive.
  2. From the broken globe into beautiful light holders:
    Many households have a globe which is used by the children. Once broken into two halves, it becomes useless but you can use it as light holders to cover the bulbs. It would add to the décor of your room and give it a ‘world-class’ touch!
  3. From metallic bottle caps and broken crayons to beautiful mini diyas: 
     You would normally throw out the metallic bottle caps after using the opener to remove them. Same goes with the crayons. Collect them instead. All you need to do is clean them, put a thick thread as wick in each of them and pour molten wax by melting the crayons. Your colorful mini diyas/ candles are ready for use during festivals or as home décor.
  4. From old crayons to push up crayons: Yes, the push up crayons can be made at home too instead of buying them from the market where they are relatively more expensive than the normal ones. Melt old or broken crayons and pour them into the plastic cover of finished glue stick. Let it dry and there, your new push up crayon is ready.
  5. From newspaper to odor absorbent: You would have never looked at the newspaper this way but you can try it out for yourself. So, you can either crumple it to keep it inside the shoe for those who have smelly feet or keep a dry stack in the room. It absorbs bad odor.
A little bit of creativity can recycle old household things and also save bucks! 

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Thursday, November 5, 2015

Innovative ways to recycle or reuse kids stuff

With growing kids at home, one common problem that every parent has to face is how to do away with the innumerable things that keep piling up. From old socks to the old badminton, the things which enter the home never seem to leave, doubling and tripling over the years. Well, one easy solution is to donate or give it off to family or friends who can use it. Those who want a creative way out, here is how you can accomplish it:

The old socks: School-going kids need a new pair of socks almost every quarter so the old ones can prove to be useful as a bathroom rug. All you need to do is entwine them or knot them together and stitch through them in concentric circles.

Puppet made from old socks
 Alternatively, use old socks to make puppets and let kids start their own puppet show.           

The bat: Try painting the bat in bright pastel shades which will go with the interiors of your house and it can adorn your walls changing the look of the room completely and also help you preserve your kids’ childhood.

The school shirt: Your growing child’s school shirt gets short for him/her every year. Nevertheless, it can still prove useful for dressing up your pet; protecting it from extremes of temperature or just make it good-looking!

The shoe-boxes: Of course your little princess loves all her pretty new shoes but the boxes do go a waste. A creative way to use them is help your daughter in re-using the boxes to house her dolls – and the boxes will transform into a majestic dollhouse. You may also use these boxes for school projects and models.

The left-over of the pencils: Once the pencil becomes so small that it cannot be used for writing, the only logical thing which comes to mind is throw it away. But you can collect such remains and use them to create your artistic wall-hanging. In fact, you can also involve the kids to pitch in for this handicraft.

The baby food cans: Of course, the baby food tin cans can be used for storing the pulses, cereals and spices. But if you still have some extra ones and do not know what to do with it except for discarding it as junk, hold on. 

Baby food jar recycled as pencil holder
These cans can be transformed into very useful items such as the piggybank and decorative pen holders with some effort. Needless to say, the process is quite simple.

Next time you have some old kids’ stuff, think about innovative ways to recycle or reuse the same. With a little bit of effort and creativity, you can turn junk to funk!! 

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Monday, November 2, 2015

Eco friendly ways to clean post festival mess

Festivities and celebrations are in full swing. Digging into sweets, buying clothes for kids and family, decorating the house, gifting to loved ones- all these are part of festivals. How about being socially responsible this festive season? If it is a ‘thumbs up’ from you, there is no dearth of the various ways to go about the after-festivity cleanup in an environment-friendly manner.

  • Use the colored saw dust and flowers as mulch:
  • Reuse and recycle saw dust
    The colored saw dust and flowers that beautify the rangoli / colorful decoration of your home floor can also fertilize your garden area after rotting. Spread it evenly in the space adding nitrogen fertilizer to it for the nitrogen consumed by the micro-organisms during the rotting process.
  • You can use the decorative items to adorn your home space: The ornaments from the idols created in festivals can be re-used for fancy dress competitions of your children or even to decorate the doll house of your daughter. The tit-bits prove very handy while making handicraft items with kids.                                                    
  • Vegetable peels make great compost material: The delicacies that you prepare for your loving kids during the festivities comprise a variety of vegetables and fruits. The peels of these make very effective and natural compost for growing plants, trees and vegetables. So make your soil fertile at the expense of waste organic material!
  • Comfortable saw dust bed for your pet: The colored saw dust of rangoli can also be used to keep your pet comfortable. You can either spread it over the sleeping area of your pet or fill it in a piece of cloth and sew it to make comfortable bedding.
  • The mud lamps can be re-used: Whether the plain mud ones or the terracotta ones, they can be re-used for lighting near the tulsi plant (holy basil) or in the prayer room for daily worship.The lamps can also be painted by kids and can serve as a decorative piece to brighten up your home as well as backyard.  
  • Don’t throw, donate food instead:
    share festive food with underprivileged
    With so many families and children sleeping hungry and suffering from malnutrition, throwing away food is a bad idea. Instead, donate the cooked leftover. There are a number of NGO’s who collect extra food and distribute it to the needy.

With these post festival eco friendly cleanup measures, you and your kids can surely add value to each celebration. Pledge to enjoy the festive season responsibly, safely and fully; sharing smiles! 

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