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Garden Parties Are The New Tea Parties

Kids love a good harvest and when combined with a party, I don't have to tell you what to expect: grab more invites - children are jogging down the driveway!

two kids sporting homemade masks

Photo: Pinot & Dita (Flickr)

You can do all sorts of arts 'n' crafts at your garden party, including making masks.

Let’s Get This Garden Party Started

Tea parties are so yesterday. How about a garden harvest party instead?

Getting the kids outside is easy when you offer them something fun and entertaining to do, and vegetables are way fun. Not so much when there’s weeding involved, but definitely when there’s harvesting involved.

Kids love a good harvest and when combined with a party, I don’t have to tell you what to expect: grab more invites – children are jogging down the driveway!

Speaking of invitations, kids will delight in seeing an envelope covered with butterflies, ladybugs, dragonflies or bees. So be sure to make sure yours are colorful. Better yet, shape the whole card into a veggie or garden bug! Kids love that.

Pleasing Young Bellies

Glancing from side to side, little ones everywhere you wonder, “But what will we do with them all?”

The same as you do at any kids’ party: you make crafts, play games, then send them home with a smile, arms loaded with treats and tales of a fabulous afternoon!

As any good host knows, this always starts with food. Eating fresh from the garden goodness ranks high on any parent’s list and a home garden provides the perfect place to introduce children to the concept of healthy eating.

Growing watermelon? Wonderful.

  • Cut one in half lengthwise.
  • Slice the interior fruit into square inch sections and you have two “bowls” of wholesome goodness to whet their appetite.
  • When the fruit disappears and the juice remains, pour it into a pitcher. Mix in a little soda water (or sprite, if you’re feeling especially adventurous) and you’ll have a party punch kids will love.

If you plan ahead of time and have a penchant for growing tomatoes, why not make up a little a homemade pizza sauce? Easy as pie if you have a blender.

  • Simply chop off the greens, push out the seeds, and toss the ruby red flesh into the pitcher and press blend.
  • At this point, you can simmer stovetop with some dried herbs from your garden.
  • Add some minced garlic and onion if you like, but that’s totally up to you. (Kids won’t mind if you smear the plain stuff across pizza dough so long as you cover it with cheese and bake it to a golden perfection.)

Of course all you potato growers out there have it made-in-the-shade when it comes to kids and party food.

  • Slice them thin and coat them with a little olive oil.
  • Sprinkle them with salt and pepper (or my favorite: rosemary garlic blend).
  • Your potatoes instantly become a pan full of French fries sure to please the fussiest of palates.

Thirsty? Break out the lemonade, but this time, make it special.

  • Steep some of that rosemary growing in your herb garden in a cup of water.
  • Then pour the “tea” into a gallon of lemonade. Partygoers will rave about this citrusy drink.

And for dessert, fresh carrots shredded fine and mixed in with the right ingredients will make for the fluffiest carrot cake you’ve ever tasted – even better yet when coated with a thick layer of cream cheese frosting.

Craft Making Time

In between all this eating and drinking, try these party craft ideas. (Find details on how to make these crafts happen at BloominThyme.)

  • Turn empty egg cartons into mini seed starting kits. With a little dirt and the seeds of their choice, kids will be thrilled to have their very own “take home” garden.
  • How about checking your local garden or craft store for some itty bitty planters? Kids can paint or decorate them with stickers and markers and you know it’s true: “custom made” by yours truly never fails to draw a smile on a child’s face.
  • Encouraging a healthy environmental attitude is easy when kids can craft their very own seed packets. Sustainability was never so fun until kids saved seeds using their hand-crafted seed envelopes!
  • Ever made a rain stick? Homemade maracas? They make noise (which attracts kids like bees to honey) and are super creative. All you need are a few simple items combined with dried beans from the garden and you’ve got rhythm.
  • Growing lavender? Cut some sprigs and secure them within pretty satin or sheer sachets. When left in their clothing drawers, these scented sachets will definitely do the trick. Use the extra for another twist on that afternoon lemonade!
  • If you have corn ready for harvest, turn those husks into good old-fashioned dolls, Indian style. Girls will delight in making theirs with long flowing corn silk hair.
  • For those adventurous pioneer types, how about turning some of your garden berry harvest into take home preserves? Easy to can, these becomes awesome party favors – ones with lasting impression.

So, for a new twist on an old theme, combine party festivities with your garden and you’ll have kids knocking on your door all week long.

On second thought, post a sign with an arrow directing them to the backyard. A gardener’s weed duty is never done!

Dianne Venetta

Dianne is an author, entrepreneur, and mother. She writes the blog BloominThyme and volunteers as garden coordinator for her children's school garden. At the end of the day, if she can inspire someone to stop and smell the roses (or rosemary), kiss their child and husband goodnight, be kind to a neighbor and Mother Earth, then she's done all right.

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