Last week while visiting northern California, I was able to visit the Earthbound Farms Organic farm stand. In addition to having a delicious (and organic!) lunch, I was also able to tour the gardens. I was blown away by their children’s garden which featured all sorts of great “touchable” plants and a chair made from tree branches! They also had a “cut your own” herb garden with some seriously huge rosemary bushes. Totally worth the trip. If you are ever in Carmel, California, I highly recommend stopping there.
Herbs were the rockstars of our school garden this year. The kids loved them, often snagging a little piece of mint or lavender to keep in their pocket all day. What’s not to love about herbs? They are pretty, they smell nice, and they have intense and varied flavors.
I live in an apartment where, unfortunately, I have no outdoor space for growing plants. The cool thing about herbs is that they can be grown indoors on your windowsill. Here are some “kid friendly” herbs that can be grown indoors:
Check out organicgardening.com for some growing tips.
So what can you and your kids do with your herbs? Here are a few ideas from a Speech Pathologist’s perspective.
1. Add them to sandwiches, soups, stir-fry or pasta. Talk about the different tastes and pick a favorite!
2. Keep a “plant journal” to track growth and changes in the plants.
3. Make “scratch and sniff” pictures or cards.
I did this with my kids at school and it was a hit. I let them pick their favorite smelling herbs, and then we glued them to paper to make cards. (We used it as an expressive language activity to target describing words and sentence structure). Some kids made their herbs into designs (flowers, people etc.) while others just pasted them all over. When it’s finished it’s a “natural” scratch and sniff! Disclaimer: the herbs dried up within a day or two and they were not as pretty to look at…but the activity was still really fun.
Growing your own herbs is a simple and inexpensive sensory experience for your whole family. So pop over to your local garden center to pick up some herbs, and get growing!