We have a small backyard learning garden, but some people have chosen to fully embrace the make-your-own lifestyle. This is commonly referred to as homesteading, a lifestyle of self-sufficiency.
Not only is our guest today a talented crafter, but also an enthusiastic gardener who raises chickens and goats with her two young children on a small family farm. When she is not making her own clothes and quilts, you can find her in the garden with her children growing lots of tasty vegetables.
Life Lessons in Self-Sufficiency- Homesteading with Kids
Vanessa Vargas Wilson, The Crafty Gemini
Living on a homestead is all about life skills. We try to involve our preschoolers in everything we do from growing vegetables in the garden to building a new chicken coop.
Even though they are young, children can do a lot on their own if we just guide them.
My kids are four and two years old and they are in charge of
- feeding animals
- collecting eggs
- filling up water bowls for the dogs
- They also help out in the kitchen where we cook and preserve our harvests.
Obviously, not everyone lives on a homestead. And that’s okay. Even if you don’t grow your own food, consider preserving market-bought foods.
One example is buying berries in season (when the price is usually the lowest) and making a batch of homemade jam or fruit leather with the kids. They will love making it and eating it!
You don’t have to grow the food yourself to preserve and enjoy it.
Not all aspects of homesteading are fun for young children. And we all know growing and raising your own food is s-l-o-w. It takes time and patience.
So, what can we do to keep kids’ attention and interest in the garden? We play games, of course!
Here are a few of our favorite garden games
• Cover cropping
We like to plant a cover crop in the garden to help amend the soil and build it back up after growing on it for a season. The kids grab handfuls of a seed and throw it all around. They throw it at each other (of course!), run around, and gave a good time.
They water it in with the hose (while spraying themselves!) and they even tamp everything down with their feet while they play. I don’t have to do anything!
We use hay or straw to mulch our garden and the kids love to grab handfuls of it and throw it all around. Sometimes we race each other to the hay or straw bales and see who can get their first. They will also mound it up high and stomp it into place.
Even though they are young, the extra hands sure do help get the job done quickly!
Next time you’re in the garden with kids consider giving them different jobs to do other than the usual digging and harvesting. Trust me, those extra little hands do come in handy!
Homesteading with Kids Videos
Here are just a few of her gardening-related videos that you may be interested in for Homesteading with Kids.
1. How to start seeds for a vegetable garden
2. How to Build a Raised Garden Bed
3. Building a Chicken Coop
4. How we Harvest Honey
5. How to Milk a Cow by Hand
There are so many hands-on ways to get the gets your child involved in Homesteading.
Bio: Vanessa Vargas Wilson, the Crafty Gemini, is known for her easy to follow instructional videos on her YouTube channel-
A law professor turned mompreneur, Vanessa shares her lifestyle and crafty skills with a global audience via the web. She teaches viewers how to do everything from sewing and quilting to organic gardening and canning.
Vanessa lives on a five-acre organic homestead in North Central Florida with her husband, their two preschoolers and 40+ farm animals.
For more Gardening with Kids:
Awesome tips!!! That fruit leather looks delicious. My kids would *love* to live with farm animals and beg me daily for different pets to add to our menagerie. How fun!