Rather than vegetating with televisions and devices, why not consider a different type of vegetation…. like digging in the dirt and making a new garden together?
Gardening and yard work contributes to the recommended levels of moderate-intensity exercise that we all need each day (at least 30 minutes)… and it incorporates fine motor skills development and stretching as well.
Gardening is also an excellent stress reliever because of the exposure to fresh air and sunshine (which is particularly important in combatting Seasonal Affective Disorder), includes light, relaxing and repetitive tasks, and exposes us to harmless bacteria in the soil that helps release serotonin in the brain.
Autumn and winter is a great time of the year to plant those vegetables and herbs that love cooler conditions, but if you’re unsure of what to plant, check out the local neighbourhood or ask a neighbour or local nursery what plants will grow best.
In most regions, Asian greens, beetroot, broccoli, cabbage, carrot, cauliflower, leek lettuce, onions, parsley, parsnip, peas, raddish, silverbeet, snow peas and spinach are good options to consider at this time of year.
They’ll be ready to harvest throughout winter and spring and provide fresh produce for the family. If you have limited outdoor space, planting in large pots is a good way to start learning the valuable new skill of growing your own food.
Of course you can purchase seedlings if you want to get a jump-start, but if the kids have a particular favourite veggie, it’s definitely worth letting them try to grow their own from the seed.
If flowering plants are more your style, there are plenty that will grow in cooler climates. Consider alyssum, begonia, calendula, delphinium, foxglove, geranium, grevillea, lobelia, snapdragon, and viola.
Another advantage of growing veggies and flowers in winter, is that less watering is needed due to lower evaporation rate… but, keep in mind that frost has a critical impact on most plants, especially young ones that are fragile to temperature extremes. Keep them protected with covers or frost cloth.
If growing your own food or beautifying your yard with colour, doesn’t sound like a load of fun, why not consider making your own compost or a worm farm!
Just because it’s winter, doesn’t mean you can’t connect with nature!