10 Reasons to Make Sure You Play in the Dirt this Summer

Months ago, when she asked, I didn’t wanna.

10 reasons to play in the dirt

She asked me to help her turn over some more of the garden bed. But I didn’t wanna.

She flashed a winsome smile and shook the Silver Queen seed packet in my direction. But I was tired. Errands would be eating up my precious afternoon. I had an office full of boxes to unpack. A floor half sanded, needing refinishing. A life in desperate need of order.

On top of that, the sky was a deep penetrating-kind-of blue, and the lake was dappled with mini firework flashes of sun kisses. I asked her if we should kayak out to the sandbar instead. If I couldn’t refinish another strip of flooring today, at least I could relax on a quiet beach.

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But the soft rattling of seeds in the package was impossible to ignore.

So I put on dirty tennis shoes and our homemade bug spray and half-heartedly strolled down to our garden glade.

Only 10 minutes worth of rich soil under my nails and I knew she was right. This was exactly where I wanted to be. Elbow to elbow with my daughter, investing in our land, our relationship, our harvest.

So we discussed the top ten reasons we think everyone should make sure they play in the dirt this summer…

# 1. Gardens are venues of daily miracles, one tiny green sprout at a time. The “promise” of May…

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blooms…

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and bears fruit in August…

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# 2. Gardening just feels good. Warm brown dirt on your palms is as rejuvenating to an adult as squishy play dough is irresistible to a toddler.

# 3. It offers a good return for your investment. For $1.35, we planted enough rows to produce 30-40 ears of corn. Today at the market, ears were 2 for $1. That’s about 28-38 ears for free.

# 4. Truly nothing tastes as delectable as fresh-picked, sun-warmed vegetables carried from your garden to your table.

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A cucumber that is stretching in the sun’s soothing rays one minute is in your kitchen the next, washed, peeled, and offering chunks of summertime goodness from a cool pottery bowl.

# 5. Surely the satisfaction of growing it yourself is part of why it tastes so good. Or, as Miranda Lambert croons, “what ever happened to… doing it all by hand, ’cause… it’s only worth as much as the time put in.”

# 6. Delayed gratification is sorely lacking in our lives today. Sometimes having to wait ninety days till harvest is good for our soul.

# 7. You never know what you might notice when you take time to slow down and, well, smell the daisies.

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# 8. You never know what unexpected botany lessons may resonate with your child forever. How magical is the day when one realizes that the fruit is truly the swollen ovary, which is expanding to protect the seeds developing under the beautiful bloom, which attracted the insect, which pollinated the plant, which has the ultimate purpose of providing us with wholesome goodness.

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#9. Your dog would love the chance to spend more time with you outside. If he’s like Bixby, our sweet, rescued Labradoodle, he’ll regally guard your garden plot with a watchful eye while you labor. Or, finally,

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# 10. If nothing else, gardening will give some dogs a very good excuse for a nap in the early morning sunshine.

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Regardless of the reason you may decide to play in the dirt this summer, if you’re elbow to elbow with a child basking in the summer’s morning glow, listen to them talk about what’s on their mind, and take advantage of those few fleeting moments to impress on their heart the depth of God’s grace and the beauty of His provisions.

My family enjoys adding ID pages about our garden plants to our  Backyard Book, our heirloom book of nature memories. Feel free to print and use this ID page if you’d like to give it a try.

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As soon as you follow along on SoulyRested.com (by clicking “FollowThisBlog” in the right-hand column), you can snag another FREE 7-page, chock-full-of-information printable that will get you started on an unbelievably easy, unlimitedly rewarding journey of nature study with a child. The free printable even includes another ID page! (This one is for studying mammals.) And even the least science-oriented parent (or grandparent) ever can dive right in.

And love it.

Really.

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This is what I have observed to be good: that it is appropriate for a person to eat, to drink and to find satisfaction in their toilsome labor under the sun during the few days of life God has given them, for this is their reward. Ecclesiastes 5:18

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