• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

kids and permaculture  RSS feed

 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
70
bee books chicken forest garden fungi trees
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've been working with young children since I was a young teen, as a babysitter, as a nanny, as a mother and as a preschool teacher. As I've gone along I've made note of things that work and problems that pop up. Ever since reading that thread about kids on Paul's farm I've been trying to notice the ways that I design with kids of different ages in mind. I know many of you have children, many have farms, many homeschool and assume all of the above. Even people who don't have their own children will probably have children visit, some will have children come to "pick your own" gardens. Some may have neighborhood children sneak in and take food! One way or another, children are a factor to keep in mind when designing a homestead or any other permaculture landscape.

I've thought of a few things that I do and would like to start a conversation where others can share ideas and experiences. If we are to keep this thing going into future generations, this will help.

-young children like to dig and they like to copy the work of big people. To keep them from digging in the food gardens, give them a digging place nearby which is big enough so that all will not poke each other with shovels. If the weather is warm enough, a bucket of water and cups will make lovely fun mud

-speaking of mud, a mudroom

-safety designed in to begin with is easier I think than a retrofit. Ponds are a special danger and a liability.

-children do well with a paddock system just like animals

-Given something to climb or swing on, they will. Planting trees for future climbing and swinging is a great function to stack.

-anywhere the caregiver will have to work is a good place to put a play area. For example, next to a clothesline.

-play areas that can grow developmentally with the kids will be more useful.

-there are ways to harness the potential of children, like getting then to move gravel or bricks. I suspect they could help seal a pond like pigs, given the right circumstances and materials. (Using their poo like pigs is not ideal!)

Let's start thinking about ways to harness the power of children, or at least to keep them from distracting the workers and destroying the work. Let's think about how to build safety into the system, for the children and for protection from lawsuits!


 
Nick Kitchener
Posts: 478
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
10
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We have young children and I discovered the following things this summer:

Ponds are death traps (well I knew that but I thought I'd point it out here).
Kids will gravitate to water and mud no matter how much you try to do otherwise.
Kids love mandala gardens to the point where they chase each other along the paths, then over the grow beds and along the paths, back over the grow beds and... you get the picture.
Kids love to mimic adult activities for about 5 mins until they see water, the mandala garden, sticks, or compost.
Kids love to search for radishes and pull them out. It's a great activity in an inter-planted system for them. They also love picking and eating snow peas. Carrots are also a favourite.
For some reason kids can't resist playing with the hose or swinging a spade. Both are not particularly pleasant when you encounter them in the mandala garden.
Kids do not like borage. It's prickly and covered in bees.
Kids are exuberant weeders. But the collateral damage is significant.
Kids are keen helpers. They will enthusiastically run to the shed for a tool you need. Nothing will stop their arrow like trajectory from one side of the mandala garden to the other. Except for maybe borage.

This fall, I levelled the mandala garden and put in straight rows aligned to the garden shed. Hopefully this will prove more child friendly.

I am interested to know what happens when kids meet hugelculture.
 
Craig Dobbson
master steward
Posts: 1998
Location: Maine (zone 5)
241
chicken dog food preservation forest garden goat hugelkultur rabbit trees
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
All of the above ideas are great.

I keep my kids away from areas where there is animal poo.

Have solid rules about what can be eaten and when. Little kids often make mistakes on plant ID so, my rule is "I check it before they eat it" EVERY TIME.

On that note: Beware of choking hazards like cherry tomatoes, grapes, carrots and such. Also, please don't eat while running.

Get brightly colored tools so that you can find them when the kids leave them all over the place.

Have sacrificial trees and shrubs. Kids like to pull leaves and swing sticks at things. I have a clump of Japanese Knotweed that my son loves to "weed whack".

A place where they can pick flowers and fruit is good too.

Shady spots with seating so they can rest while you keep working.

As long as they have access to sticks, dirt, rocks and a bucket... you're good.

Build them a tent or a fort. Or let them build it.
 
Dawn Hoff
Posts: 504
Location: Andalucía, Spain
26
bee books chicken greening the desert rabbit trees
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Have a million flowers, so that you can appreciate it when they pick some of them.

Walk away grow your work to play with them in the garden once in a while

Make them aware dangers and trust them

Let them design with you

Let them have pets, let them have many if they want - even if they aren't able to take care of them. They will model your behavior towards the animals soon enough.

Tell them why and how you plan to evolve your garden. Don't talk down, talk about bacteria and mycelium, erosion and swales - but stop if they loose interest.

Find places in the shade, where you can take a nap I r read a story

Don't be afraid to let them take technology into nature.

Kids love to take a walk if it serves a purpose - to plant trees, throw seed bombs, walk the dog. They generally dislike taking a walk for the sake of taking a walk.

Have time to stop and smell the flowers, discover a rabbit hole or investigate skeletons and snakeskins.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
70
bee books chicken forest garden fungi trees
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
When guest children arrive, make it clear to them what areas are off limits and explain to them why. Explain to their parents too.

Observe the children in the space. When you seeing them doing something you don't want them to do, find them a place where it is ok to do it or something similar. For example, if they run through the gardens, give them a place to run. If they are taking your hammer and banging nails into the siding of the house give them a toy hammer and golf tees in a piece of punky wood or Styrofoam. Older kids can be kept busy with a hammer, stump and nails for a long time

I resist any urges to give children younger than teens screens of any kind to look at. No tv, no computer, no phone, no video games. Parents often think that the screen is giving then a break but in my observations it makes parenting harder. The children are over stimulated and less able to entertain themselves when the screens are off

Likewise toys that need batteries

Keep them outside playing vigorously for most of them time, in all weather, but also have a cozy place indoors. If you provide nesting materials like pillows and blankets on a soft rug, with a basket of interesting books nearby, tired children can occupy themselves peacefully.

 
Dawn Hoff
Posts: 504
Location: Andalucía, Spain
26
bee books chicken greening the desert rabbit trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Matu Collins wrote:
I resist any urges to give children younger than teens screens of any kind to look at. No tv, no computer, no phone, no video games. Parents often think that the screen is giving then a break but in my observations it makes parenting harder. The children are over stimulated and less able to entertain themselves when the screens are off

I wholehartedly disagree on that My kids are 100% able to entertain them selves when screens are off, and they have unlimited acess to screens. It is not that I think it makes parenting easier, or that I relaxes them, but that I know that they learn just as much from doing that as they do when they help me garden or from watching the dog. It also makes the time they spent helping me or playing outside voluntary and much more apprechiated by them.
 
Craig Dobbson
master steward
Posts: 1998
Location: Maine (zone 5)
241
chicken dog food preservation forest garden goat hugelkultur rabbit trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
When it comes to screen time I'm kinda with Matu. My kids have some screen time but never more than 30 minutes at a time, maybe once a week. And, it's always something new and informative/educational. I allow them to come up with what they want to know about then we search the net for that info. I'll usually read a bit about a subject to them before we go to video so that they understand that not all learning is from hands-on or video. "all those words on the screen have meaning too".
They don't watch mindless nonsense and I am always watching with them. We take time between videos to talk about things and often pause clips to have extra explanations about what's going on. If they ever start to have that zombie look where I can tell they are zoning out ( just staring at a colorful flickering box), I turn off the video and have them find something else to do.

I've seen a few kids who were so screen addicted that they nearly lost their minds without them. I once saw a nine year old sit sobbing in front of a tv for more than an hour while the power was out. He didn't know how to deal with life without electricity. That was a real eye opener.
 
Dawn Hoff
Posts: 504
Location: Andalucía, Spain
26
bee books chicken greening the desert rabbit trees
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'll just have to accept that this is not an unschooling forum and that I'll be a minority in this area
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
70
bee books chicken forest garden fungi trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks guys, for being so kind and reasonable about a contentious topic. I tried to be careful about how I presented it as "I have decided not to use screens" instead of "children who look at screens are ruined" or "children who look at screens have bad parents"

Screens can do all sorts of neat things and I'm using one right now! When my teenage daughter was two, I'd let her watch whole Disney movies with the 40 yard stare on. Sometimes I'd stare with her, sometimes not. And she's a lovely companion for me now, and a very good help. She is not ruined, nor was I a bad parent. My point was that screens are a factor to think about when designing for children and I leave it out of my design entirely because I like it best that way now, considering my experiences with the development of kids who use screens and kids who don't. It's simpler, cheaper, and more fun. If you do decide to have both kids and screens in the same areas, it's worth planning for in the design. Maybe a big movie screen to show awesome movies to kids would be a great feature!

Rules and limits are very important but having a short list of them makes for more fun and less fuss.
 
Ellen Schwab
Posts: 62
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I do not want to be overly simplistic, but I find kids need firm and easy rules with firm and easy consequences. I have ever so slightly raised beds. Kids coming into my garden, get a very explicit lesson on where it is ok to walk and where it is not. Walk includes run. <G> We have a little discussion about if they are old enough, big enough, tough enough, smart enough to handle being in the garden. Then, we 'commit' to help each other stay off the beds. They watch thier feet and mine and I watch thier feet and mine. If we see an infraction, we have a code word. Anyone who gets 'caught' 3 times, has to go sit on the garden bench. Sitting on the garden bench is not nearly as much fun as helping, looking, playing. I don't want children to sit on the garden bench, I want them to be free to help or play, so it is really imporant not to step on the beds.

If this is your second visit, we review the rules and review the where to walk and where not to walk and this time you only get 2 warnings. Next time one. Then . . none. Go direct to the bench. I have never had a kid need the second visit 2 warnings. They are reminding me of the rules on the way. Or they need one warning to make sure "I" am going to enforce it.

I whole heartedly beleive kids need space to jump in leaf piles, roll down hills and throw rocks at other rocks. But, I also beleive they need to learn appropriate respect for certain places and things. And, WORK IS FUN. If we do not let them experience the joys of a job well down, how will they ever learn. Kids who help weed ~ and we all have to weed ~ have to stay near me and 'verify' thier choice EVERY time before they pull it until they get 10 right. In a row. Miss one, start the count over. Ten right in a row, then they can pull it before showing it to me. 10 right . . . and they can pull 5 before showing them to me. They have to be invested in getting it right. But, we have to break it in to 'doable' chunks. We also have to let them know that self monitoring is a good thing. The goal is to pull weeds without a supervisor. And, they can look through my bucket looking for mistakes. "Our" goal is to not make mistakes, but if we make one, we recover by replanting the plant ~ and if it dies later, we grimance.

I am very very tolerant of kids, but I think our job is to socialize, civilize and train them ~ not make it easy for them to be careless and wild. It is a fine line to have age appropriate tasks . . .and to stretch thier capabilities without crushing thier motivation. Sometimes being IN the garden is it's own reward. A century ago, parents were a lot less tolerant because survival depended on it. Maybe we have gone too far the other way?
 
Dawn Hoff
Posts: 504
Location: Andalucía, Spain
26
bee books chicken greening the desert rabbit trees
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I agree that kids should learn to do things competently - but I disagree that they need punishment to learn. When I learn something new I make 10.000 mistakes along the way - a teacher who made me sit in a bench for making a mistake would loose my respect (but I might fear her power over me), very fast. The respect I expect others to show me is the same I extend to my kids (and other kids). If my son digs with a
Pick-axe in the middle of my road I tell him to go do it somewhere else, as I'd like to keep my road, I also tell him that he can dig in the swale I'm diggin' - if he wants to help me - sometimes he digs with me, sometimes he goes elsewhere to "mine" (a game he has learned from playing minecraft). I believe that kids want to learn and want to be competent and want to show others respect. If that is what I meet them with that is usually what I receive back. I have never had to punish a child to make a point.
 
Dawn Hoff
Posts: 504
Location: Andalucía, Spain
26
bee books chicken greening the desert rabbit trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Matu - I can't quote

My point was more that I don't fear technology - and use them actively in our home schooling. We are voluntarists, and aim that all our dealings in our lives are voluntary - also those of the kids.

My kids may bring our iPads when we are on our homestead (we don't live there yet). Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. When they do they sometimes do, they play for a while and then go out to play or work with us. They have been party to the decision of buying the homestead, they have agreed to give up their allowance to be able to afford it, and even though we have told them that we might not have electricity there when we move up there - they are looking forward to moving there and tell us so every week.

I don't plan to include technology in our learning centre, but if kids bring it there I will have no problem with it.
My experience is that if what is going on around them is fun, they will put it down (even the most aspire kids have done so, eventually - but they need time to feel secure).
 
Craig Dobbson
master steward
Posts: 1998
Location: Maine (zone 5)
241
chicken dog food preservation forest garden goat hugelkultur rabbit trees
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I like the idea of letting kids explore all they want and helping to mold their play in constructive ways. I've designed my landscape in such a way that they are never drawn to the really dangerous stuff like electric fencing or roads. I've built swales in such a way to channel the kids to certain "kid friendly" areas. The pathways in the fields lead to berry patches, shady trees, milkweed "fluff" and grapes. That being said, I have no qualms about being firm about what's ok and what's not. If need be, kids can go sit on the steps while I finish doing what I'm doing. It's easier to do it myself than to have them wreck something because they aren't paying attention or are being too rough.
Anyone with kids knows that they are not always willing to go do something else peaceably, despite having a million toys and things to do. All kids have their limits and so do parents. My kids aren't destructive, but I've had other kids here that are, so I just don't tolerate it. Kids are allowed to be cranky, hungry, tired and bored... but not mean, destructive or violent. I think it's important to have limits and rules because when kids turn into adults, there will be laws they need to follow( like it or not) and all those rules come with punishments. Some kids do great with little coaching but others clearly need more help. Just like adults

 
Dawn Hoff
Posts: 504
Location: Andalucía, Spain
26
bee books chicken greening the desert rabbit trees
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think when strangers come in with their kids, making them and the kids aware of the rules of the house is very important. But it is also very important to me, that kids are there voluntarily. I will not work with kids who have not chosen to be there them selves...

I do not raise my kids to follow the law I raise them to act morally and with reason. If they chose not to steal or murder from fear of the law then I have failed as a parent. They should not even think of murdering and stealing, because it is immoral, and that lesson I cannot teach with punishment.

Other people's kids can be destructive yes, but my experience is that they will stop if I explain why they should not be so. And otherwise they have the choose not to participate in what ever we are doing (I never had to say that though). Boundaries are OK, if they are natural and logical and everybody has to follow them.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
70
bee books chicken forest garden fungi trees
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
As far as "kids meet hugelkultur" my experience has been great. My twins helped me build mine at the age of 2, and the hugelbeets are tall enough so that they don't ever get stepped on.
 
Ellen Schwab
Posts: 62
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am very disturbed by a trend to remove all punishment from dog training and child rearing. JMO, but punishments and inconvenience and annoyances are all part of life and ~ JMO ~ but equiping our children to cope is a very important part of helping them be sane, productive members of society.

I do my level best to fair and predictable, but sometimes bad luck gets in the way and someone gets an unfair moment. I find kids and dogs recover easily and learn quickly when they have a whole spectrum of communication. Aversives as well as rewards when fairly and predictably given make learning fun.

 
R Scott
Posts: 3358
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
32
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ellen Schwab wrote:I am very disturbed by a trend to remove all punishment from dog training and child rearing. JMO, but punishments and inconvenience and annoyances are all part of life and ~ JMO ~ but equiping our children to cope is a very important part of helping them be sane, productive members of society.



VERY TRUE. Although it isn't PUNISHMENT, but TRAINING. In engineering it is called negative feedback, and it HAS to be included in a system or it will go unstable and blow up. If you reward bad behavior, you get more of it--doesn't matter if it is your dog, goat, toddler, teen, CEO, or congresscritter.
 
Ellen Schwab
Posts: 62
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
You are so right, R Scott.

There seems to be a 'moral superiority' going on that distains 'punishment' or negative feed back. In dog training we call it 'correction'.

JMO, but there seems to be way more 'management' needed when we do not train our dogs or kids NOT to do certain things. I can leash and muzzle my dog, but it is just so much more convenient and easier to train him to stay with me and not bite the neighbor kids.

I could lock up my guns, knives, power tools and garden plants. I find it a whole lot easier to train the children. We have our spills, accidents and mistakes, but if they swing the pitch fork dangerously close to me or another kid, they lose it for the day. Try again tomorrow.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
70
bee books chicken forest garden fungi trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Good use of kid power:
My little boys love tools so much. We have a general idea around here that you get to use a tool when you know how to use it properly and you know better than to use it the wrong way. With age comes more opportunity to try using tools (for example, pocket knife at 7)

Hammers are a much coveted, very beloved type of tool. Chestnut weevils have gotten into some of the chestnuts. The boys helped me find the chestnuts with holes in them indicating weevil activity. I let them bring those nuts out to the driveway and smash then with hammers so that the chickens could eat the nut meat. Children get good hard work to do, the weevily chestniuts get dealt with, and the chickens get food.
 
Ellen Schwab
Posts: 62
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
WOW, Matu! Perfect all the way around.

It is the same here. Proper use and you get to use the tools. Proper use for extended periods get more freedom in that use.

Some tools ~ guns, sharp knives, mixer, power anything ~ require adult supervision ALWAYS. WEll, until they are 'big' enough. EVEN though they have demonstrated many times, some tools still require an adult permission.

Ellen
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
70
bee books chicken forest garden fungi trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Bare feet are something to consider. It's very hard to get some children to keep shoes on! If there is old rusty stuff or broken glass around that is a problem. If you want to harvest the chestnuts every day so the weevils don't get the upper hand, shoes are necessary! Shoes are always necessary under chestnut trees

In fact, when planting nut trees, hulls are worth planning for. If it is close to the house, imagine the large canopy of the mature tree dropping hulls all over. Some are prickly, some are sticky, some are fun to collect and play with.
 
Rufus Laggren
Posts: 481
Location: Chicago/San Francisco
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Just want to say I think Matu is right on - this is an important topic. I don't have kids, though as far as I know I get along mostly OK, and I feel the stirrings of total ignorance and probable inadequacy here... But I suspect that we adults need to cross paths with children often or we forget where we came from and how this whole world gets made up - over and over again. Not to mention putting the "perm" into permaculture.

Cheers

Rufus





 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
70
bee books chicken forest garden fungi trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Fun thing to let children do- stomp/kick mushrooms! It is very satisfying and fun, and it spreads the spores far and wide! How many spores on the shoes of a child who has stomped through all the mushrooms in the woods? I don't know, but may they run all over my farm, hither and yon.

We respect the mushrooms of course, we're helping them
 
Lisa Paulson
Posts: 258
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Awe , my father was saddened to take me for a walk to see some mushrooms he was admiring and then finding them trampled, are you certain they will spore and generate more at any stage of development when trampled?
He would be relieved to know this but I would hate to tell him this and have him dissappointed . There is a child in all of us.
 
Craig Dobbson
master steward
Posts: 1998
Location: Maine (zone 5)
241
chicken dog food preservation forest garden goat hugelkultur rabbit trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Lisa Paulson wrote:Awe , my father was saddened to take me for a walk to see some mushrooms he was admiring and then finding them trampled, are you certain they will spore and generate more at any stage of development when trampled?
He would be relieved to know this but I would hate to tell him this and have him dissappointed . There is a child in all of us.



The main body of the fungi is still living in the ground so as long as there is a food source for it the mushrooms will likely come back.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
70
bee books chicken forest garden fungi trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
When my stepson was younger he loved nothing better than to run through the woods at mushroom time and kick and stomp them to smithereens. It made me sad and sorry but I was his new step mom and didn't want to rock the boat. My husband explained to me that the mushrooms want nothing more than to be spread far and wide by stomping feet. We suspect that it is an evolutionary benefit for a mushroom to look stompable. Puffballs are a great example of this.

On the question of maturity, I do wonder if the less mature mushrooms can still spread their spores. I think that the spores are in there and the maturing of the fruiting body is a way to get the spores released over a wide area. Spores are not quite like seeds. Someone who is more knowledgeable than I would have a more confident answer. John Elliott maybe?

This could be an opportunity to teach children observation skills. Puffballs change quite a bit as they mature. I'd rather children stomp random mushrooms than eat them! For little folks in the woods and around vital soils it's safer.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
70
bee books chicken forest garden fungi trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Just remembered this one: One of the best ways to make a good path is to have children run along it every day! They get a familiarity with the garden, they learn the difference between path and bed and once the walkway is clear, people stick to it pretty well. I did this in the spring and really summer this year. It's a fun routine to start or end outside time. For children who don't transition well, it's a way to get them heading back to the house after fun outside time.
The well trodden path is easy to follow and is less full of weeds
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
70
bee books chicken forest garden fungi trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here's a photo of the weevily chestnut smashers
chestnut-smashing.jpg
[Thumbnail for chestnut-smashing.jpg]
 
Elise Park
Posts: 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
What a great thread! I've enjoyed reading these comments and as a mother of two (3 & 5 yo), I'm sure I'll think of a few as time goes by.
 
Lisa Paulson
Posts: 258
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Kids belong in permaculture as much as adults , and special accomodations for them be it taking the time to teach them or creating a swing in the nut grove or a sandbox in the raised beds, are all worthwhile. I cannot imagine not planning for kids and animals in my landscape .
 
S Bengi
Posts: 1359
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I would like to think that the main reason for permaculture is for us to leave something behind for our kids and grandkids after we are gone.
Hopefully we also use said permaculture to feed/house/warm/water/medicate ourself and kids/grandkids.
A very important part of permculture is passing on the knowledge that we have, and what better captive audience than kids/grandkids.

Now it is true that if you are multi-tasking, feeding a kid, digging a trench, supervising a kid, and also teaching said kid, it is going to take way longer than if you were just digging the trench by yourself. And there is a added risk that they might distract you and you hurt yourself, or they might just hurt them self. But it is a worthwhile skill to teach (whatever it is that you are doing), and also am awesome character building experience for the kids to go through (sure they might destroy, whatever you are building and annoy along the way).

 
Roman Sapla
Posts: 7
Location: Cascadia, Oregon
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Greetings All,

I'm (somewhat) new to the forums and am delighted to see this topic! Over the past 15 years I have observed the trends of the child-permaculture relationship.
It's very heartening to see the growing acceptance of youth by the permaculture movement - especially in the last few years.

This morning I got up early to work on an essay titled "Teaching Hugelkultur to Kids" Visiting your conversation has been very inspiring.

Thank you everyone for all the work you are doing.

-Roman
Children's Permaculture Guild

 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
70
bee books chicken forest garden fungi trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator


My daughter a few years ago. Meadow near the clothesline gives habitat for children who like to look for beneficial insect friends.
 
Craig Dobbson
master steward
Posts: 1998
Location: Maine (zone 5)
241
chicken dog food preservation forest garden goat hugelkultur rabbit trees
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Kids love these creatures.

IMG_1658.JPG
[Thumbnail for IMG_1658.JPG]
Like having a pet alien.
 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
Posts: 6795
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
266
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Kid's make excellent spotters. When you're searching for perfectly ripe fruit, their keen senses are an asset. Most don't want unripe sour stuff, so they quickly learn to identify what tastes good. "There's a ripe one".
----------------------------------------------
I have acted as foreman on job sites. for many young males. Those who come from families engaged in farming, fishing and forestry have skills that far surpass those of most city kids. One Cree girl from Manitoba had her own trap line as a teenager. Several broke city boys tried in vain to date her. To her, they weren't men and they were rebuffed. The fellow that she married is a fisherman. They built their house from wood on their land and stuff that he gathered from beaches.

My 19 year old daughter called a few days ago to see if it would be OK for her and her boyfriend to plant stuff on the farm and sell it at the city market. This came as a welcome surprise, since the kids showed little interest when they were little. They weren't lazy. They simply found easier stuff that paid well. When this daughter was about 11, she called to tell me that she had made $240 during a long weekend of babysitting. The other day, I asked if she had enough reserve to buy seeds etc. She has over $6000, none of it from her parents. This kid isn't going to come crawling home when she's 25 because she's broke.
-----------------------------------------------
Giving kids a patch that they can nurture and sell at the roadside could be a good introduction to how work and money are related. Having a patch that is their responsibility to help feed the family teaches responsibility in that area. My pumpkins outgrew all others in our garden when I was 9. This was reflected in the size of pie slices that my mom dished out. When we had company, some of my production was presented with a little fanfare and items were sent home with gramma and her friends.
 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
Posts: 6795
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
266
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Rock Picking --- Many kids can gather little rocks as fast as adults. After you clear everything larger than a coconut, let the kids put the remaining rocks into 5 gallon buckets. They like to do things that are quantified easily. "Look mom, I filled 5 Pails. Rocks this size are great for drain fields. Run it through a screen and get the small ones for path building. Given suitable agregate and a wagon, little boys will build little roads wherever they are marked out. It's born into them like hunting and wrestling.
 
Paul Cereghino
gardener
Posts: 856
Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
15
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
While I do lots of organic things as well, I have been working a more institutional structured angle lately--trying to figure out how kids can take over public land to grow things while meeting their common core standards, with minimal input from teachers and parents. It involves a lot of permaculture design at a social level... creating relationships between the earth, kids, teachers, administrators and other people in the community that are durable and create momentum. Some thoughts for this kind of project...

- Grade 5 is right about when the shift happens to sustained self-motivated work.
- The perennial plant propagation for sale cycle works really well with the school year.
- Business and money is a strong point of entry for some. We scavanged divisions our first year, potted up around 100 plants, and sold them, earning $700 in net profit. From here on our we buy bare root, pot up and sell, and skim for new garden plantings.
- The cycle of the year, and the need to keep the business alive creates good momentum, but you need at least one cheerleader.
- Simulation games work well for connecting reading comprehension, to systems analysis to field work.

All my notes, materials and thoughts to date are here:
http://www.stewardshipinstitute.info/wiki/index.php?title=Curricula ... I'll get more materials up over time.
 
Chris Badgett
pollinator
Posts: 289
Location: Whitefish, Montana
10
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Children are an integral part of permaculture design. This is a great thread!

In my experience, small children like 4 things most in a growing landscape:

  • Harvesting fruits and flowers
  • Using tools
  • Playing with and using water
  • Learning the environment


  • All of these things can be integrated into design. Sometimes it seems like there is a war on children where they can't "touch" anything. Let's stop that and connect them better to ecology in our designs
     
    Matu Collins
    Posts: 1976
    Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
    70
    bee books chicken forest garden fungi trees
    • Likes 2
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    The energy of three-and-a-half year olds is like manure- a resource if you use it right, a mess if you don't.

    Here are the twins beating the heck out of the couch cushions.
    20140317_162151.jpg
    [Thumbnail for 20140317_162151.jpg]
     
    Judith Browning
    Posts: 5957
    Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
    377
    bike chicken fungi trees urban woodworking
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    This is an excellent thread, matu.....
    Our boys are grown and we are on to grandkids and even a great! Our sons loved mud, sticks, rocks and water though...I think it is universal...and they both still "play' with rocks, mud, wood and water...both wonderful gardeners and builders.
     
    Evil is afoot. But this tiny ad is just an ad:
    Video of all the PDC and ATC (~177 hours) - HD instant view
    https://permies.com/wiki/65386/paul-wheaton/digital-market/Video-PDC-ATC-hours-HD
    • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
    • New Topic
    Boost this thread!