Today we feature OWG guest blogger, Melodie Griffin, who is dedicated to fighting childhood obesity through her role as a Student Wellness Coordinator with UnitedHealthcare and as the Florida State Coordinator for Action for Healthy Kids. In both roles, she works through schools to encourage students to eat better and move more. All programs Melodie promotes are fully approved by her home based lab rats, five year old son, Howie, and two year old daughter, Hope. You can learn more about Melodie and follow her blog here.
As a mom, the long days of summer mean an added responsibility on my part to find activities to keep my little ones busy. With the beautiful weather, I am constantly trying to find fun activities outside that are both educational and active. This summer in particular, I’ve had a specific craving for less processed, fresher foods. Put these together and I find myself with a backyard garden.
This may not be a big deal to many of you, but for me and my black thumb, it’s huge. I’ve tried growing a couple of plants before but apparently you have to water them, something I just could never seem to get right. Everything from potted tomato plants to an herb garden has withered away under my care. However, this time is different. With my little gardening army in tow (consisting of 5 year-old Howie, 2 year-old Hope, and a somewhat reluctant husband, age withheld), I was determined for this to be a family experience. Little did I know, this garden was going to be one of my favorite things I’ve done with my family.
From the beginning of this gardening experience, my children couldn’t get enough. Both were excited to go to the store to select seeds and seedlings. On the car ride home, they excitedly talked about what they were going to grow and then EAT! Planting the garden resulted in two extremely dirty children, covered from head to toe in dirt and soaked with water, but it was a wonderful time for us all.
The excitement didn’t end there! Each day, they eagerly made their way outside to see how much each plant grew overnight. On their very own, my little ones turned the garden into an outdoor classroom. We’ve learned about bugs, plants, energy, and more. They’ve obtained a sense of responsibility as they are tasked with watering the garden and checking on the plants daily. But what I appreciate more than anything is that they can’t wait to taste what’s growing in their backyard. (Bonus: My very picky eater (and reluctant) husband is even excited about the garden and dare I say it, eager to try the different veggies from our harvest!)
As a professional, I can’t wait to share my newfound passion for gardening. While I always knew school gardens were beneficial, I can now truly appreciate the benefits they provide. Of course, a school garden requires additional planning and classroom integration, which is why I suggest incorporating The OrganWise Guys Gardening Kit into your classroom. This kit will help make it a fun adventure for elementary age children as they learn how they can grow their own fruits and veggies. You can then carry what your students learn in the classroom into the garden with a set of OrganWise Guys garden signs. With a little dirt and water, mixed with sunlight and seeds, you and your students will soon see and taste the benefits of your hard work.