Playing with Dirt

Universally, kids love playing with dirt! They are drawn to nature, love to learn about plants and see them grow. Our Children’s Ministry Coordinator, Olivia Dose has special memories of helping to plant gardens and watch things grow when she was a child, and this helped her specially connect to God’s love and plan for his people and creation. She still relates to God through nature now, and her love for plants is apparent when she shares about her more than 50 house plants!

As Olivia got to know many of the children we serve here at BsideU For Life, she learned that so many of them have never seen farm lands or been to a farmer’s market. Many of these kids have spent their whole life in downtown urban areas where there is little plant life. She also learned that many of the children don’t typically have fresh fruits and vegetables as part of their diet, and when they do, they’re not familiar with them, and don’t know how they grow.

The next step became clear to Olivia, and she decided to plant a garden with the children. We dedicated a corner of the playground area, and Olivia got to work getting the things needed to plant and tend a small garden. We’ve been amazed at how much of a hit this has been with the kids we serve. Some of the children ask about it first thing when they arrive, and when playground time comes, all of the children make a bee line to the collection of small watering cans so they can check on growth progress, and ensure each plant gets the water it needs.

The Children’s Ministry staff has loved seeing the connections the kids are able to make through this project. They see God’s love, creativity and provision for his creation. They also have learned about responsibility and consistency in tending to the plants, and have learned that good things take time and work. It’s been great to see the sense of accomplishment they feel in being a part of the process. It’s also been a great way to teach them more about healthy fruits and vegetables. We’ll be able to use the produce as part of our lunches as we get further in the growing season.

We’ve planted tomatoes, peppers, snow peas, cucumbers and summer squash, but the favorite so far has been a strawberry plant. One of the little girls in our group was just thrilled to see a little strawberry fruit develop. She waited patiently over the course of a few weeks as it got bigger and started turning red. She was delighted the day that Olivia said it would be O.K. to pick the strawberry, which she did with the utmost of care. She washed it and asked for it to be cut into thirds so she could share it with her brother and sister. They all agreed it was the best strawberry they’d ever tasted!

One thing is for sure, the garden is here to stay! If you’d like to get involved in this or the many other fun and educational things we do in Children’s Ministry, we’d love to talk. Click here to learn more.