Monkey is closing in on four and this year has been great for the garden. I've actually been able to work in the garden once in a while while he's awake! In the past he would want to "help" in ways that were not so helpful - like pulling up prized flowers or eating dirt. But this year he listens (mostly) and if I can keep him busy he can even be semi-helpful (or at least stay out of the way). Here are a few ways I attempt to keep Monkey engaged in the garden.
1) Kid's gardening gloves - I found some at the Thriftway on Vashon (I swear they have everything). He LOVES them.
2) Clearly defined places to dig - I gave up some space in the garden early on and came to terms with the fact that some plants nearby might die. Last night my husband took it a step farther and pulled out some plants to make a dirt area just for Monkey - it is currently filled with dump trucks.
3) Kid-size watering cans (big ones get over-filled and frustrate Monkey to no end) and tools.
4) Water Barrels - great source of entertainment and easy on the water bill. If he wastes the rain water I still get annoyed - but not as annoyed as running the faucet! He sometimes waters the plants that actually need water and the rest of the time he makes water tracks on the driveway. Either way it keeps him busy and that's what you're looking for.
5) Fast-growing veggies that are easy to pick and eat. Snap peas and cherry tomatoes are great. Bush beans or pole beans are also a lot of fun to watch grow. He also picks out a few plants to plant and tend aside from veggies.
Today we noticed that something is chomping on our squash so we brainstormed ways to stop it. Monkey decided we needed a scarecrow (little does he know we probably need a scare raccoon or a scare squirrel). So we decided to make one and this is how we did it (note: this is not waterproof!):
2 sheets of large paper (I used packing paper we've been saving from an Amazon shipment)
scrap paper or newspaper
long stick/pole + shorter stick/pole
1) Have your child draw a face on a piece of large paper (even better have them draw faces on two pieces of paper so you can make a two-faced scarecrow). We discussed what kind of face to draw and Monkey landed on a "mad face".
2) Cut out face(s) or face and another blank piece of paper
3) Staple together leaving a large opening for stuffing purposes.
4) Ball up scrap paper and stuff the head.
5) Staple shut leaving small opening for stick/pole.
6) Creat a small cross by nailing smaller stick/pole perpendicular to longer one.
7) Stick in the ground and put on the shirt.
8) Top with the stuffed head - enjoy!