Natural Organic Holiday Shopping … for Kids!

Gardening GiftsGardening gifts for children; fun, educational, and great for the entire family.

I don’t know about you, but this weekend I intend to get some holiday shopping done. Most gardeners are plan-ahead, industrious sorts and I’m sure a lot of you have finished your shopping or are well on your way to wrapping it up (ho ho!). That’s not usually how I roll. But allow me to make the same declaration I make all year long — shop locally — and let’s look at that column on the shopping list that can often be most difficult: kids.

It’s often said that gifts should reflect the giver as well as those receiving the gift. My — and I hope your — interest in organic growing and all things natural is often mirrored in the gifts I give. That can be easy when you’re giving to adults. Kids? Everything seems plastic, disposable, and often designed to numb the mind rather than stimulate it. But what if, just what if…

There are a number of garden and environmentally oriented gifts that kids would find fun. Added benefit: they might lead to a lifetime interest in growing your own flowers and vegetables. Not only are they great, around-the-house, engaging activities, they might also make for a good project for the upcoming school science fair season.

Seed starting makes for a great family project and offers a number of gift ideas. A seed staring heat mat or self-contained hot-house might be just the ticket for your junior gardener to jump-start the family garden. You could put together an entire package — heat mat or hot house, germination pots and flats, a bag of organic potting soil (wrapping this should prove a challenge and might stump even the most skilled gift-guesser), maybe even some seed packets as stocking stuffers — everything your little green thumb would need. Kids of all ages can get into seed starting — of course, the younger ones will need more guidance — and older students with good reading and planning skills can take on a seed-starting project (almost) all by themselves. Bonus: planning, planting and taking care of newly planted seeds might be just the activity your kids need in those days before school starts up again.

Have a kid who’s been especially good or just feeling extra generous this year? A self-contained T5 light system might be just the thing for an aspiring indoor gardener. And it may prove invaluable for your house plants as well. Growing plants indoors is one of the best activities we can think of for surviving the long months of winter. Caring for plants under such a light — it doesn’t get extremely hot, like the big HID grow lights and is therefore relatively safe (always stress caution with any electrical item) — teaches responsibility as well as gardening skills. Of course, you’re kids will just think it’s fun.

Of course, there are other gardening-related activities that are not only fun but educational. Best, for extremely curious kids, is a worm bin. Not only will your kids get to watch and raise one of everyone’s favorite creatures — worms! — but they’ll learn about recycling, decomposition, and good earth stewardship as they keep kitchen scraps out of your city’s landfill. Of course, depending on where they live, they might have to wait until spring before they purchase the little wigglers that will do the hard work of kitchen composting. In the mean time, why not have them read up?

Want something more advanced for your middle or even high school level scientist? A self-contained bokashi system will handle just about everything your kitchen can throw at it, including dairy and bones. Equal parts biology and chemistry, a bokashi bucket is a great gift for any environmentally minded family. And it will result in a potent, natural fertilizer tea that can then be used in your green house and garden. Wise giving note: don’t give one of these to mom. She spends enough time in the kitchen. But dad or the kids? Fair game. Science teachers take note: the bokashi process provides ample opportunity for applied learning. Maybe one for the classroom? From what I remember of the school cafeteria, you should have no problem loading it up.

Any activity that brings the family together is great, especially those that involve gardening and food preparation. Here’s a great gift for parents. It will help them get kids involved outdoors and in the kitchen, just what you want. Need other ideas for the kids? We’ve got all kinds of items designed just with them in mind. Need stocking stuffers for folks of all ages? Stop by our retail store if you’re lucky enough to live in or near beautiful Bozeman, Montana, and check out the books, natural health and beauty products, caps, gardening gloves, etc, etc. If you’re not nearby or not planning to spend time visiting our exciting ski slopes with the family this holiday season? Here you go. May we suggest two or three-day shipping? You wouldn’t want Santa showing up late.

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