Recently, here at the Skip Garden, we have been running a lot of family based activities. During the summer holidays, we will be running two family events a week, both free which will involve cooking, gardening and crafts activities for parents and children to get stuck in to together. We ran similar activities last year and this year I decided we needed even more. They are very popular and a great experience for everyone involved, including the group leaders.
There is something very valuable about watching a child and parent learn together. There is something of a ‘flattening out’ that occurs, a mixing of roles where everyone starts on the same level again. The teacher becomes the student and the expert becomes the novice as well as the other way around. Children teach their parents how to plant seeds, how to chop and mix or how to weave. Or both learn together, encouraging and praising each other’s achievements. It is a pleasure to provide a space that does so.
Our sessions are designed to let everyone try every activity so everyone has cooked, done some gardening and made something to take home. We start the session together, sometimes with a story to set the theme for the session, and we end together by snacking on what has been baked, relaxing and chatting about what we have done that day.
This year we’ll be focusing on four main themes for our activities that we feel will provide a good understanding of the natural world around us.
Herbs – this gives us a chance to explore the garden using multiple senses, to get stuck into recognising and appreciating the smells of the garden as well as how to use the flavours and textures of herbs for a variety of dishes
Bees – one of the most important components of any garden space! We use this theme to remind learners of the importance of supporting multiple pollinators in the garden. We learn how to make bee hotels for solitary bees to burrow in, which flowers to grow for which pollinators and make our own wildflower gardens to take home.
In cooking, we use honey and talk about its antibacterial properties as well as learning lots of delicious things to make with it.
Soil – this theme makes for some interesting cooking sessions! We will focus mostly around the texture of soil using ingredients such a polenta or making ‘mud pies’ out of chocolate. In the garden, we can learn about some of the critters that live in the soil and how important they are for the plants above ground to grow.
We can search for them using magnifying glasses, make larger than life copies out of clay.
Seeds - we can cook with seeds and we can garden with seeds. In cooking, we focus on the different uses for seeds in cooking and their cultural uses around the world. In gardening, we learn about the lifecycle of the seed and the plant as well as how to grow them ourselves.
Looking forward to seeing some of you there!