My children had a point. The temperature was already in the 80s with a projected high of 100 degrees by mid-day.
That’s Philadelphia in July.
Knowing the risks associated with heat, I made sure my children were well hydrated and outside before the thermometer reached triple digits.
To encourage them to play in the dirt, I consulted a book my mother-in-law sent us called Roots, Shoots, Buckets, & Boots: Gardening Together with Children (1999) by Sharon Lovejoy.
Lovejoy’s book contains a series of child-friendly gardening projects, from turning old boots into planters to more complicated projects like growing a “house” with sunflower walls and a morning glory roof. Lovejoy reminds us of the fun of magnifiers in the garden, collecting seeds, and gathering sprigs of mint for tea. She writes of the wonders of the garden in an effusive way that anyone who loves Anne of Green Gables as much as my twins do would appreciate.
Between looking at bugs with the magnifying glass and picking raspberries, my girls helped me in the garden all morning. No one complained about the heat even once.
In our front yard, we’ve been gradually replacing the fescue and crabgrass with flowering annuals and perennials. Last April, over my twins’ spring break, we added an annual bed. We started with a rainbow of snapdragons, which were beautiful through June, when the cheery zinnias took over. My girls planted each zinnia from seed.
They are very proud of the final result:
Sometimes it takes a book to encourage kids to go outside.
Do you have any outdoorsy books to recommend?
*Speaking of gardening inspiration, check out Donna’s Garden Walk Garden Talk.
**Most of these zinnias are “Thumbelina.” They weren’t supposed to grow taller than 6 inches. Was the packet labeled wrong?