Sponsored with love by Miracle-Gro
Photos by Briana Lindsey Photography
I feel like we spend way too much time coloring with crayons, playing with My Little Pony figurines, building with blocks, “washing” all of the clean dishes, and making play dough figurines (aka I make the things and Ava launches them across the room because she thinks it’s funny). Those are all of Ava’s current favorite things to do, and while I love playing with her and doing all of the things that make her smile from ear to ear, I’m going to be honest with you....
I get bored.
I get bored a whole lot doing toddler things all day long. I mean, I can only play make believe with ponies and ask them what their names are for so many hours in a day, so we’ve been trying to come up with fun, at-home activities for toddlers that Ava enjoys... and that I enjoy, too. You know, because we need to switch it up every once in a while for our sanity. I wanted to find fun toddler activities that are meaningful, that inspire creativity, and that help her learn and grow. And of course, fun toddler activities that she can have a blast with!
So I’ll just get right to it -- This week Ava and I made a garden together, and let me tell you, we sure did have a lot of fun! I mean, just look at her face -- that smile says it all.
Pure excitement. Pure joy. Seriously, you need to try it.
If you can grow and keep a garden alive, you’ll teach some skills and responsibilities along the way that might teach your kids how to keep a puppy alive, too. Am I right or am I right? I definitely don’t have the greenest thumb on the planet, and I may or may not have killed a cactus and a bonsai tree, two plants that “are nearly impossible to kill.” That’s why I turned to Miracle-Gro for soil and plant food. Both are American-made, and have been for over 150 years. It also helps plants grow 2-3x as big (yep, it’s been scientifically tested and proven); so basically, if you’re not exactly the best at keeping plants alive, make it nice and easy on yourself by choosing the right products that will help you create something beautiful.
Clearly, we had some fun with our little garden and it’s a fun mommy and me activity that Ava and I can continue for years down the road to strengthen our mommy-daughter bond. And of course, that’s always a plus.
3. Get kids to eat more fruits and veggies.
Fruits and veggies may not look so appetizing on a plate when mommy and daddy serve them to you, but if a kid can grow fruits and veggies themselves, well… that’s practically magical. While I haven’t proven this one quite yet, I’m fairly positive that the excitement of growing and harvesting from our plants will be one great way to get kids to eat their veggies. I’ll try it out and let you know.
We bought all Bonnie Plants from Walmart -- peppers, strawberries, and some other fun fruits and veggies we love -- and let me tell you, I had no idea gardening could be this simple. They come partially-grown, and are sold in “pots” that are ready-to-plant. You can literally stick these into your Miracle-Gro soil, and voila! the “pot” eventually dissolves into the ground like magic. It’s that easy! Plus, they have a great selection of edibles to choose from, so you can customize your garden to fit everyone’s tastes.
4. Fresh Air
I think kids are indoors far too often, so if I can get Ava outdoors even half an hour more a day, I think I’ve won. Fresh air works wonders for kids (and for adults too)! Gardening is a great way to get your kids outside – and to continue to get them outside – while also giving them a way to connect with nature and the food that they eat.
5. Life Skills
Problem solving, cause and effect, creativity, and as I mentioned earlier, responsibility: these are all skills that gardening teaches. Gardening shows kids that if you work consistently hard at something, you will see results. And I don’t know about you, but I want my kids to work hard for what they have and to not just expect things from life because that isn’t how the real world works. The earlier I can prep Ava for that, the better.
...duh! Starting your garden might sound intimidating, but it’s really not! It's easy and it's fun!
Once you decide which plants to grow and what kind of garden that you want to have, all you have to do is go to Walmart.com, select your Miracle-Gro soil, Bonnie Plants, and Miracle-Gro Plant Food for Store Pick Up. If you do it this way, you don’t even have to deal with the dreadful task of shopping with kids, and a store associate will load all of your items into your car for you. And that’s a win-win-win for everyone, don’t you think?
One Month Update
Take a good look at that photo up there and just wait until you see how far our little garden has come in just one month! We grew 6 strawberries (which is pretty much a miracle for me!) and we didn't even have to do anything! Well, Ava insists on watering every single day because she loves her little garden. And she also insists on eating the green strawberries too!
Our little tomatoes are finally budding and the two pepper plants are starting to show growth too. Let's just say, our little gardening project was a huge success and will continue to be our fun little mommy + me project forever.