When it comes to chores, there are few things kids dread more than yard work. Adults know the value and satisfaction that comes from taking care of the garden — but for young people who just want to spend the summer doing as little as humanly possible, a combination of hot sun, dirt and the potential for insect run-ins makes the whole venture feel particularly unpleasant. Don’t lose hope! Children and teens often learn best through doing, and it’s easier than you might think to introduce a love for yard care that’s attached to genuine connection to outdoor spaces. Read on for a few strategies you can implement this summer to help you bond with your family, keep your yard in tip-top shape, and have your Solstice™ neighbors envious of your landscaping skills.
Little Greenthumbs
Gardening can be a daunting task, even for lifelong enthusiasts. You’ll find an element of chance involved in the process — remember last month’s hail? — that can easily disrupt your delicately-balanced arrangements. As such, most master gardeners spend a lot of time inspecting their plants for changes, good or bad. This daily inspection is almost meditative in nature, and can provide a perfect opportunity to involve young children who are naturally inquisitive and want to know what their favorite role models are doing at all times. Bring them to the garden and talk them through what you’re observing. Is the leaf damage a sign of an insect infestation or a munch taken by passing wildlife? Before telling them what you think is happening, allow your children to ask questions, identify likely culprits, and — of course — delight in any new plant growth they find.

Fruit and Veggie Garden Getty Images

A Blue Record
The outdoors have long been a space of inspiration and creativity, and your yard offers you and your family the same bounty. Work to harness the potential of your own natural space by using materials you have grown yourself to craft an afternoon of family-friendly garden fun. With only a handful of specialized tools, you could spend the afternoon partaking in one of the oldest forms of photography: cyanotype. This 170-year-old process involves laying plant material on top of paper treated with photosensitive chemicals and then allowing the sun to “develop” the print. The cyanotype paper can be prepared at home or purchased at craft stores, and it’s a simple process with fast results that provides a fantastic opportunity to talk with your children about plant types — including why certain flowering plants are treasured by gardeners and others are known as weeds. We think there’s lots of fun in subjectivity!

Cyanotype Flat Leaf Photo Getty Images

Mow What?
If your older child is more interested in television and technology than they are in the outside world, there’s a good chance that they’ve encountered video games and social media about mowing the lawn. There’s a good reason for this — when done right, an intelligently-mowed lawn is incredibly aesthetically pleasing. If they’re as obsessed with lawn care media as we are, it may not take too much coaxing to convince them to try out the real thing. Suggest that they work in ever-narrowing concentric circles from the fence into the center of the yard, or that they mow squares into the grass like a baseball outfield. To really experience the splendor of your freshly-styled lawn you’ll want to get a good vantage position. Maybe it’s time to break out the drone that’s been gathering dust since you bought it for your teen several birthdays ago?

Mowing Lawn Getty Images

The secret to instilling a love for lawn care is working with your children instead of against them. This isn’t such a hard thing to do when you’re living in a home and community that values and prioritizes the distinct needs of each family member. If you’re still looking for that harmony, Shea Homes® is here for you. Reach out today to learn about the Solstice™ home of your dreams — we can’t wait for you to join us!

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