Inside: Engage your kids in the wonders of homesteading! Explore interests, foster learning, use tools together, cook as a family, and give little ones meaningful tasks.
Homesteading with kids? Here are some helpful tips to get you through your day. You can make homesteading interesting, and educational, while still maintaining your sanity and providing for your family with your kids with you.
5 Tips to Homesteading with Kids
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Explore their Interests
Homesteading can be a diverse and multifaceted endeavor, and one of the best ways to get kids involved and excited is to explore their interests. Whether they love animals, plants, building, or crafting, find ways to incorporate their passions into the homesteading experience.
Animal Loving Kids: If your child adores animals, involve them in the care of livestock. They can help with feeding, grooming, and even training gentle animals like chickens or goats. They can also participate in 4-H programs or similar to learn more about animal husbandry and responsibility.
Gardening Loving Kids: For kids who enjoy gardening, create a special plot just for them. Allow them to choose and grow their plants, and teach them about the lifecycle of different crops.
Gardening not only nurtures their interest but also imparts valuable lessons about sustainable food production.
Crafty Kids: Children with a creative flair can contribute to the homestead by making DIY crafts like garden markers and scarecrows or repurposing materials into useful items. These projects encourage resourcefulness and environmental consciousness.
Homesteading with Kids can be Educational
Not everyone who homesteads homeschools, but homesteading offers a unique educational opportunity that goes beyond textbooks and traditional classrooms.
Science and Nature: Homesteading naturally exposes kids to the wonders of nature and science. They can observe plant and animal life cycles, and weather patterns, fostering a genuine appreciation for the environment.
Math: Involve kids in budgeting for the homestead, keeping track of expenses, and understanding basic financial concepts related to selling produce or homemade products.
History: Teach kids about the history of homesteading and its significance in building communities and societies.
Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving: Homesteading requires creative problem-solving, from finding solutions to pest control to constructing new structures. Involve your kids in brainstorming and implementing these solutions.
Let Them Use the Tools
While safety is important, allowing your kids to use size-appropriate tools can build their confidence and sense of responsibility. Of course, adult supervision is crucial, especially for younger children. Accidents are going to happen no matter how careful you are, but using the right-sized tools will help to prevent them from being worse.
Gardening Tools: Give kids child-sized gardening tools like shovels, rakes, and watering cans, and teach them how to use them safely while gardening.
Cooking Utensils: In the kitchen, involve them in food preparation using safe tools like kid-friendly knives or peelers. It fosters independence and healthy eating habits when you involve your kids in cooking and baking.
Hand Tools: Introduce them to basic hand tools like hammers, screwdrivers, and saws under strict guidance. They can assist in small building projects or repair work. The younger they are when they start to use these tools and learn properly, the safer and more confident they'll be throughout their lives.
Get Them in the Kitchen
We love to cook and bake together in our home. The kitchen is where the family gathers. Getting your kids in the kitchen is not only a great way to spend time with them, but they are learning yet another valuable life skill.
For us, baking was the easiest way to start and introduce them to enjoying being in the kitchen. Now they enjoy baking on their own with very little help from us. They are always extremely proud of themselves, and we're just as proud as they are.
Meal Planning: Engage children in meal planning by letting them pick ingredients from the garden and discussing nutritious meal options. Talk about why you choose the foods you do and why you might not choose others, this is how kids learn.
Cooking and Baking: Let kids help with age-appropriate cooking and baking tasks. They can mix ingredients, chop vegetables, or knead dough. These experiences can foster a love for cooking and an understanding of food preparation, even while they are young.
Canning and Preserving: For older kids, teach them how to preserve surplus garden produce through canning, pickling, or drying. This teaches them valuable food preservation skills and reduces food waste.
Kids can easily help chop apples for the dehydrator, making a delicious and healthy snack.
Give Your Little Kids a Job
Like I said in How to Homestead with Kids, giving them a job is important. It gives them a role in your homestead.
Even young children can participate in meaningful ways on the homestead, teaching them responsibility and contributing to the family's efforts.
Gathering Eggs: Assign the task of gathering eggs from the chicken coop to younger kids. This activity can instill a sense of routine and care for animals. A few eggs might get broken, but then again, I break a few eggs here and there too.
Watering Plants: Let your kids help water plants in the garden using a small watering can. This simple task makes them feel included and encourages a love for nurturing living things.
Composting Helpers: Kids can be involved in sorting and adding kitchen scraps to the compost pile. Teach them about recycling organic waste and its benefits for the garden.
Basically, you are just giving them chores around the house and chores around the yard. We started small with chores, before we moved to our half-acre, with them taking part in caring for your cats and dogs.
The best tip I can give you is to just do it. Let them help when they ask, as long as they'll be safe. Ask them to help you. Homesteading is a lifestyle. Include your whole family, your kids too, in your journey to growing, and preserving your own food.
The key is to make the experience enjoyable and age-appropriate for each child. Their enthusiasm and participation will be fueled by the joy they find in these activities. Celebrate their contributions, no matter how small, as it reinforces their sense of accomplishment and connection to the homestead.