Learning

The Gift of Gardening

Teaching Children and Grandchildren Valuable Lessons, One Seed at a Time Parents and grandparents are often children’s first and most important teachers. For 15 years, I have had the pleasure of teaching families with young children at the Chicago Botanic Garden. It is a gift to work in a garden with children because there is so much about gardening that we can use to help them grow.

How to tell someone: You rock

Here’s a quick, creative way to let mom or a special someone know that you care—make a kindness stone, just because. You may have seen kindness stones around your neighborhood. After my daughter and I recently painted some rocks, I was putting them around a flower bed in our front yard when a woman walked by. She said, “I love those—every time I see one on my walk, I take a picture and post it. Do you mind?”

Daffy for Daffodils

More than 200 years ago, English poet William Wordsworth came upon the happy sight of daffodils in spring—and was inspired to write one of the most beloved nature poems in the English language. The poem, “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud,” is a reminder of the ability of the natural world to lift spirits. Wordsworth wrote the poem on April 15, 1802, after a walk in the Lake District of rural northwest England. On the walk, along the water’s edge, he spotted golden daffodils swaying in the breeze.

Start seeds while you stay inside

We know everyone right now is looking for fun projects to do indoors. Here’s one with a great return: start seeds. It’s easy to do, whether you want to start seeds on a sunny windowsill or in a more formal arrangement. The great thing about starting seeds indoors is that it is relatively inexpensive—and who can resist the satisfaction of watching those first sprouts spring to life?

The Healing Power of Nature

A cold spring—or, as some of us in the Second City affectionately call it: Second Winter—can test our ability to feel connected to anything living, including each other and ourselves. When we are stuck inside, our mental images of cherry blossoms, tulips, and forsythia, are hit with the reality of the snow outside our windows, causing a short circuitry in our minds and a yearly re-questioning of “Why do we even live here?” 

Nature Play Never Stops

Even when the kids have schoolwork, it’s still important for them to play outside. Outdoor activities encourage creativity and independent thinking. The good news is that outdoor play time has many benefits; a growing body of research shows that nature play encourages creativity and problem solving, boosts academic performance, helps people focus, reduces stress, and promotes positive social relationships.