I was raised on a farm, as was my husband. We both would love to live out in the middle of nowhere, with some land of our own (more than 20th of an acre), to raise our kids. Unfortunately, at this time, that really isn’t an option. At least, not if we want our kids to ever see their father! Still, I do want my kids to have some of the experiences farm kids enjoy. My neighbors probably shake their heads sometimes, but this is what we do:
- Let the kids run barefoot (in the yard). When we were growing up we had races across gravel, and even thistles to see who was the toughest. Sometimes we would step on something that cut our feet, but it was nothing that a good ten minute soak in warm salt water and a Tetanus shot couldn’t handle.
- Garden–to teach them how to weed, and dig, and not step on the beans! My parents gave us 10by10 garden spots when we were young. We got to plant them and take care of them and harvest them all by ourselves. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough space to do that in the middle of the city, but every little bit helps.
- Work outside. We try to have lots of family projects (this year we are removing tree stumps) including our garden, that allows our kids to get their hands dirty in a productive way.
- Get dirty. In the country you don’t have to worry about who sees you covered in mud because whose going to see you? Your closest neighbors are two miles up the road. (The important thing with this one is to plan enough time into the schedule to get cleaned up before you head on an outing). My kids are very fond of making mud pies…and I can’t blame them. 😉