It’s all about food glorious food y’all! So it’s no secret I love food! I love everything about food, from growing it to eating it. But one of the reasons I love food so much, is because it provides an opportunity for us to connect… connect to nature, to our creativity, to our imaginations and to each other.
This month we focused on food, how we grow it, share it and eat it! In every Outside The Box this month we included all the materials needed for 2 fun crafts, 1 give back activity challenge, plus as a bonus we included a simple yummy recipe from Smitten Kitchen.1. The first craft kit we included is a homemade bird feeder. This one was so fun and simple! All you have to do is take your craft tube, smear peanut butter all over it, place birdseeds on a plate, roll your peanut butter coated craft tube in bird seed, tie a string around the completed craft tube and pick a place outside to hang it, and then let the birds dine! There was minimal mess, easy clean-up, my little one was able to do everything on his own and only needed a little assistance in tying the string.
What I love about this craft besides (minimal mess & easy clean-up) is through something so simple, we can teach our little ones about nature. We can talk to them about our role in nature, how to respect and appreciate nature. And this is important because teaching our little ones now about the world they live in and giving them an appreciation and respect for something outside of themselves, but also something they are still a part of, not only reinforces a spirit of kindness, but of responsibility, of curiosity, and of community.2. The second craft kit we included is carrot seed paper and planter. One thing I love to talk to my little one about is where food comes from… the earth. We talk about the importance of farms and gardens and what they do. We talk about how nature produces all varieties of food. Every year, even before he was born my husband and I would do a small backyard garden and before he could walk, he was helping us plant and pick fruits, veggies, and herbs. He also helps us compost and see how we nurture the soil while reducing our waste. So for me this craft kit was a no brainer. He had fun getting creative with decorating his pot, got excited and curious watching the soil pod transform with water, loved tearing up the carrot seed paper to plant, then we just added a little more soil, a little water and he picked his spot to place his carrot pot. I think it’s so important to expose our little ones to nature in a variety of ways, letting them get a little dirty, play in the mud, garden, find worms, frogs and sticks. All of these things open up opportunities for curiosity and exploration, they expose them to a variety of textures and the creation that is all around us every day. I think as adults we can become numb to it, we can even take it for granted, but we don’t have to and one of the joys of parenthood is a reminder of the simple joys and wonder that are all around us.
I wanted to share a couple more ideas to use food to teach kids kindness. Even though these materials were not included in the box, they are still simple and fun ways we can take food and teach our little ones about so much more.
3. Take your kids to the grocery store or market, have them pick their favorite fruit or veggie, find a recipe to cook their favorite fruit or veggie, then have them wrap it up, create a note, and drop off to a friend or even a fire station, police station, or nursing home. The idea is that littles one have the creativity to select a food and a recipe, connect while cooking, and are able to share that with others. I know when I do this with my little one, it just naturally opens up conversations about, why are we making food for someone else, why aren’t we eating it ourselves, why do they need it, and on and on. These questions are perfect ways to start a dialogue with our littles about kindness and sharing.
4. Create care packs for those in need. Let your little ones decorate a brown paper bags, add a granola bar, nuts, dried fruit, a bottle of water and keep them in your car. When you and your little one are driving and see someone in need, simply hand them one… then watch the smile on your little’s one face! Not only do they get to use their creativity and spend time connecting with you as you make the care packs together, but they get to learn how good it feels when we’re being kind and helping others!
5. Start a compost. I know, starting a compost seemed overwhelming to me at first, but it is actually much simpler than I thought it would be and it reduces our trash and waste by so much! I’ve added a link from Eco Friendly Kids which gives a great guide to starting your compost. And how is starting a compost teaching kindness you ask… well, it’s teaching our little ones to think bigger than themselves and to see themselves as a part of a larger community. Showing kindness is showing a concern for others and taking care of nature and our environment is one way we show our concern others.Stay tuned because later this week, we’re going to post about the Growing, Sharing, Eating Outside The Box Community Challenge benefiting Feeding America Food Banks + We’re doing a special breakfast post this weekend featuring the Smitten Kitchen Carrot Pancake Recipe we included in the box! We love sharing how we can use food to connect, to play, to create, to teach kindness and to giveback!