Search Results for: vegetable garden

Grow Your Own Vegetable Garden – III

By Sana Athar

Grow Your Own Vegetable Garden

This is the third and concluding part of our Gardening series and we hope that it may have helped you find your green thumb. Here are some more ‘greens’ you can grow and enjoy fresh right from your own garden!

Radish

Radishes are a hardy, cool-season vegetable that can produce many crops each season due toits rapid days to maturity. Radishes can be planted in both the spring and the fall, but growingshould be suspended in the warmer months. They are a very easy vegetable to grow.Direct sow seeds in the soil. Radishes need sun. If they are planted in too much shade—or even where neighbouring vegetable plants shade them—they put all their energy into producinglarger leaves. Plant consecutively every two weeks or so while weather is still cool for a continuous harvest ofradishes. Plan on a fall planting. You can plant radishes later than any other root crop in latesummer or early fall and still get a harvest.Radishes require well-drained soil with consistent moisture.Radishes will be ready to harvest quite rapidly, as three weeks after planting for some varieties.Do not leave in the ground long after mature stage, their condition will deteriorate quickly.

Spinach

This super-cold-hardy vegetable is a tender crop that can be planted in very early spring as wellas fall and winter.Although seedlings can be propagated indoors, it is not recommended as seedlings are difficultto transplant. Spring plantings can be made as soon as the soil can be properly worked. It’s important to seed as soon as you can to give spinach the required 6 weeks of cool weather from seeding to harvest.Select a site with full sun to light shade and well-drained soil. Successive plantings should bemade every couple weeks during early spring.Water the new plants well in the spring. Keep soil moist with mulching. Water regularly. Spinach can tolerate the cold; it can survive a frost and temps down to 15ºF (-9C).Keep an eye on your plants. Harvest when leaves reach desired size. Don’t wait too long toharvest, or wait for larger leaves; bitterness will set in quickly after maturity.The whole plant can be harvested at once, and cut at the base, or leaves may be picked offplants one layer at a time, giving inner layers more time to develop.

Tomato

Tomatoes are America’s favourite garden vegetable (fruit). This vine plant is fairly easy to growand will produce a bumper crop with proper care.If you’re planting seeds , you’ll want to start your seeds indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the averagelast spring frost date. Select a site with full sun and well-drained soil. It is VERY important thatyour site receives at least 6 hours of sun. Transplant after last spring frost when the soil is warm.Water well to reduce shock to the roots. Water generously for the first few days. Water wellthroughout growing season, about 2 inches per week during the summer. Keep wateringconsistent!

Leave your tomatoes on the vine as long as possible. If any fall off before they appear ripe,place them in a paper bag with the stem up and store them in a cool, dark place.Never place tomatoes on a sunny windowsill to ripen; they may rot before they are ripe!The perfect tomato for picking will be firm and very red in color, regardless of size, with perhaps some yellow remaining around the stem. A ripe tomato will be only slightly soft.If your tomato plant still has fruit when the first hard frost threatens, pull up the entire plant andhang it upside down in the basement or garage. Pick tomatoes as they redden.Never refrigerate fresh tomatoes. Doing so spoils the flavor and texture that make up thatgarden tomato taste.

Squash & Zucchini

Squash is a seasonal vegetable. It is very susceptible to frost and heat damage, but with proper care it will produce a bumper crop with very few plants. There are many varieties of summer squash to choose from, including zucchini.If you wish to start seeds indoors due to a short gardening season, sow 2 to 4 weeks before lastspring frost in peat pots. However, we recommend direct-seeding for squash because they donot always transplant well. If you do transplant, be very gentle with the roots.The outside planting site needs to receive full sun; the soil should be moist and well-drained, but not soggy.For all type of squash, frequent and consistent watering is recommended. Water most diligently when fruits form and throughout their growth period. Water deeply once a week, applying atleast one inch of water. Do not water shallowly; the soil needs to be moist 4 inches down.Harvest summer squash (zucchini) when small and tender for best flavour. Most varieties average 60 days to maturity, and are ready as soon as a week after flowering. Check plants everyday for new produce. Cut the gourds off the vine rather than breaking them off.

Enjoy fresh harvests and remember to share your gardening experiences with us! We look forward to hearing from you!

About the author:

Sana Athar is a stay at home mom to her three little angels. She lives in Milton, Ontario where she works on her passions: gardening and cooking for family and friends. An MBBS from Karachi, Pakistan, Sana is currently working on obtaining her license to be able to practice medicine in Canada.

Gardening On A Budget

By Sana Athar

gardening on a budget

Spring has nearly sprung and with it brings the question: to plant or not to plant. Oftentimes people think of gardening as an expensive hobby but I have found it to be a relaxing activity that makes me feel good. It’s exciting to watch your plants grow and when it starts to fruit, it’s almost the same joy as holding a newborn in your arms.

We follow up on our gardening series with tips and tricks for gardening on a budget to help save money while keeping plants in perfect condition.

Recycle

There are many ways to use recycled containers in garden; as watering can, for growing seed or as planter. Here are some things you can use in gardening.

Milk jugs: as a planter or watering can

Plastic food container with lid: as green house or for seed starting

Paper or plastic cups: really good to start seed in. Just make sure to make some holes through a pin or pencil for drainage.

Egg Cartons: A personal favourite. I tear up both sides then line one side with plastic wrap and put the other one on it and fill it with my compost and seed starter. It can be planted directly in garden because of being compost friendly.

Egg shells: I haven’t used this as of yet but people use egg shell as seed starter pot.

Shredded paper, toilet paper rolls, cereal boxes: all can be crushed up and its pulp can be used as seedling starter.

Yogurt cups: as seed pot

Seed trays: sold at dollar stores

Plastic watering bottle: cut in half and use as pot

Aluminum containers: use as planters

Aluminum tray: I use it as seed pot tray. Cases of soda and canned products can also be used as tray to hold all seed pots

Mulch

Instead of overspending on mulch, we can use recycled paper, cardboard boards, and newspaper as mulch. Grass clipping are excellent mulch as well. You can also save on mulch and potting soil by getting discount bags that have tears in them. Don’t miss any sale.

Harvest seeds

Although seed are sold at dollar stores as well, you can try harvesting your own to save some more money.

For fleshy vegetables such as tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and melons, pick them when they are fully ripe. Scoop out the seeds, along with the gel surrounding them. Put the seeds and gel in a glass jar with some water. Stir or swirl the mixture twice a day. The mixture will ferment and the seeds should sink to the bottom within five days. Pour off the liquid, rinse the seeds and spread them out to dry on paper towels.

Saving pepper seeds is even easier. Allow some fruits to stay on the plants until they become fully ripe and start to wrinkle. Remove the seeds from the peppers and spread them out to dry.

Beans and peas need to be left on the vine until the pods are dry and crackly.

Corn should also be left to dry on the stalk until the kernels dent.

Potatoes (with eyes) can be half dipped in water held by tooth picks just above water. It grows its roots in a month.

Onion and garlic can be grown from their bulb. Some are grown in water until they grow new greens and some are harvested for their seed and re-grown again.

Not every avocado pit will produce roots, so your best bet is to try two or three pits at once. Leaves will appear in few weeks.

For cabbage, place leftover base and leaves in a bowl and add a small amount of water in the bottom. When roots and new leaves begin to appear, transplant the cabbage into a garden.

The next option is to trade plants and seeds or share with neighbours.

Buy Perennials

Buying perennials will save money in long run. Because it will grow by itself year after year.  Although they cost more in beginning but with proper care it will be ease of mind to see them grow every year. Examples of some of such plants are tulips, lilies, roses, daisy, hydrangea, cornflower and lavender among others.

DIY

Weed and Bug Killer

DIY weed or bug killer use safe ingredients and there are many ideas you can find online. Some people use sugar mixed with cinnamon and chili powder which feeds your soil and kills weeds.  This mix also keeps bugs at bay. People also use eggshells around the base of the plants and edge of the garden to keep snails and slugs away.

Vinegar can also kill weeds be careful though, it kills grass too.

Boiling water and bleach can also be used as an effective weed killer.

Fertilizer 

DY fertilizers are easy to make at home.

Banana peel is excellent fertilizers just chop into small pieces and voila! Put in your pot. It provides Potassium.

Coffee and tea grounds: Acid-loving plants such as tomatoes, blueberries, roses and azaleas love them due to its high nitrogen content.

Dead leaves, glass clippings and weed are high in nitrogen and an excellent fertilizer.

Epsom salt are rich in magnesium .

Egg shells are great for providing calcium to plants. Wash them first, and then crush. Work the shell pieces into the soil near tomatoes and peppers.

Remember, gardening is a labour of love, it takes time and patience but the results are truly worth the wait.

About the author:

Sana Athar is a stay at home mom to her three little angels. She lives in Milton, Ontario where she works on her passions: gardening and cooking for family and friends. An MBBS from Karachi, Pakistan, Sana is currently working on obtaining her license to be able to practice medicine in Canada.

Grow Your Own Vegetable – II

By Sana Athar

Grow your own vegetables

Continuing our gardening series, today we will focus on five more veggies and herbs that you can grow in your backyard.

Lettuce

This is a half-hardy vegetable that you can keep growing all season long by planting one small crop at a time. Days to maturity tend to be short. Lettuce is a cool-season crop that grows well in the spring and fall in most areas. Lettuce seedlings will even tolerate a light frost. Start seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks before last spring frost date for earliest crop. Harden off seedlings for about one week, and transplant outside between 2 weeks before and 2 weeks after last spring frost.

Lettuce will tell you when it needs water. Just look at it. If the leaves are wilting, sprinkle them anytime—even in the heat of the day—to cool them off and slow down the transpiration rate. Planning your garden so that lettuce will be in the shade of taller plants, such as tomatoes or sweet corn, in the heat of the summer, may reduce bolting.

Lettuce should be harvested when full size, but just before maturity. You want it young and tender.Before maturity, you can harvest leaf lettuce by simply removing outer leaves so that the centre leaves can continue to grow. Mature lettuce gets bitter and woody and it will go bad quickly, so check your garden everyday. As time passes, you will want to cut the whole plant from the ground. It’s best to harvest in the morning before leaves have been exposed to sun.

Grow Your Own Lettuce

Mint

Mint is a perennial with very fragrant, toothed leaves and tiny purple, pink, or white flowers. It has a fruity, aromatic taste. The mint family has many varieties, but it will take over your garden,so be careful where you plant it.For growing outdoors, plant one or two purchased plants (or one or two cuttings from a friend) about 2 feet apart in moist soil. One or two plants will easily cover the ground. Mint should grow to be 1 or 2 feet tall. In the garden, plant mint near cabbage and tomatoes.If you don’t want an entire bed of mint, buy some plants or take some cuttings from a friend and plant them in containers filled with potting mix enriched with compost. Remember to keep the plants in a sunny spot.

Minimal care is needed for mint. For outdoor plants, use a light mulch. This will help keep the soil moist and keep the leaves clean. For indoor plants, be sure to water them regularly to keep the soil evenly moist. Right before flowering, cut the stems 1 inch from the ground. You can harvest one mint plant 2-3 times in one growing season. You can also just pick the leaves as you need them. You can also grow the plants indoors for fresh leaves throughout the winter.

Onion

Onions are a cold-season crop, easy to grow because of their hardiness.Onions grow well on raised beds or raised rows at least 4 inches high. Select a location with full sun where your onions won’t be shaded by other plants.Onion seeds are short-lived. If planting seeds indoors, start with fresh seeds each year. Start seeds indoors about 6 weeks before transplanting.

Generally, onions do not need consistent watering if mulch is used. About one inch of water per week (including rain water) is sufficient. If you want sweeter onions, water more. Cut or pull any onions that send up flower stalks; this means that the onions have “bolted” and are done. Be sure to harvest in late summer, before cool weather. Mature onions may spoil in fall weather.

Grow your own peas

Peas

Peas are a cool-season crop, and come in three separate varieties : Sweet peas, Snow peas and Snap peas. To get the best head start, turn over your pea planting beds in the fall, add manure to the soil,and mulch well. Sow seeds outdoors 4 to 6 weeks before last spring frost, when soil temperatures reach 45 degrees F (7 degree C). Peas are best grown in temperatures below 70 degrees F (21 degrees C). Water sparsely unless the plants are wilting. Do not let plants dry out, or no pods will be produced. Keep your peas well picked to encourage more pods to develop.

Pick peas in the morning after the dew has dried. They are crispiest then. Always use two hands when you pick peas. Secure the vine with one hand and pull the peas off with your other hand.

Grow your own bell pepper

Pepper

Peppers are a tender, warm-season crop. Start seeds indoors 8-10 weeks before last spring frost date. After the danger of frost has passed, transplant seedlings outdoors.

Water one to two inches per week, but remember peppers are extremely heat sensitive. If you live in a warm or desert climate, watering everyday may be necessary. For larger fruit, spray the plants with a solution of one tablespoon of Epsom salts in a gallon of water, once when it begins to bloom, and once ten days later.

Harvest as soon as peppers reach desired size. The longer bell peppers stay on the plant, the sweeter they become and the greater their Vitamin C content. Use a sharp knife or scissors to cut peppers clean off the plant for the least damage.

Stay tuned for the third and last part of our gardening series. We hope it starts you on your gardening journey and you can enjoy the fresh, green right from your own garden!

About the author:

Sana Athar is a stay at home mom to her three little angels. She lives in Milton, Ontario where she works on her passions: gardening and cooking for family and friends. An MBBS from Karachi, Pakistan, Sana is currently working on obtaining her license to be able to practice medicine in Canada.

Images: 123RF

Grow Your Own Vegetables I

By Sana Athar

Grow your own vegetable garden

With the weather clearing up and the sun out longer, many aspiring gardeners start feeling overwhelmed with questions with no one to answer them. Where and how to start? What to do? How to plant? How much sunlight is required? When is the planting season and when is the harvesting season? In this four part series, we will be covering how to cultivate your own vegetable garden.

Get started

First and foremost we need to know where we want to plant our vegetables. Except few vegetables like lettuce and spinach, most require almost six hrs of sunlight. A south facing location is serves best in this case. Before planting, fill your garden with at least 3-8 cm of compost. The soil in the vegetable bed should be loose, be easy to turn over and dig. Vegetables need daily watering when at the seedling stage. Mulch helps retain moisture, encourages earthworms and fosters microbial activity in the soil. Crop rotation is very important too. Don’t plant the same thing (or a related plant) in the same spot two years in a row as plants from same family are vulnerable to disease and insects. To make free fertilizer collect leaves in the fall. Place them in a thick layer all over the garden and then let the worms do the work of turning them into leaf mulch. Start from a small garden. Each plant has a different set of timings for planting. Vegetables and herbs that are easy to grow and maintain are tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, green beans , radishes, lettuces, green onions, cilantro and mint.

Green Beans 

Pole and bush beans (more commonly called green beans) are a tender vegetable and a great addition to any garden, great eaten fresh off the plant or incorporated into a recipe. Pole beans will grow in a climbing vine and require a trellis or staking. Bush beans will spread up to 2 feet but do not require support.

Do not start seeds indoors; they may not survive transplanting. Seeds can be sown outdoors any time after last spring frost that is end of April. For a harvest that lasts all summer, sow beans every two weeks. Water regularly, from start of pod to set. Water on sunny days so foliage will not remain soaked. Beans are picked at an immature stage, when the seeds inside have not yet fully developed. Look for firm, sizeable pods and snap or cut off the plant. Do not tear the plant. The plant is ready to harvest from mid-June to mid-November.

grow your own herbs

Cilantro

Coriander/cilantro is a fast-growing, aromatic herb that grows in the cooler weather of spring and fall. The leaves are called cilantro and the seeds are called coriander. Plant cilantro in the spring after the last frost date or in the fall. Do not grow in summer heat as the plants will bolt (so it is past harvesting). The leaves that grow on bolted plants tend to be bitter in flavour.It is best to choose a sunny site that will allow cilantro to self-seed as it is ought to do. Plant in an herb garden or the corner of a vegetable garden. When the weather gets warm, the plant will quickly finish its life cycle and send up a long stalk which will produce blossoms and later seeds. Little plants will sprout during the season and the next spring. Plant the seeds in light, well-drained soil.

It is important to keep the seeds moist during their germination, so remember to water the plants regularly throughout the growing season. They require about an inch of water per week for best growth. Once the plants are established, they do not need as much water. Keep them moist, but be careful not to overwater them. Harvest while it is low. When the cilantro grows its stalk, cut off the plant after the seeds drop and let it self-seed. The large leaves can be cut individually from the plants. For the smaller leaves, cut them off 1-1/2 to 2 inches above the crown. You can also remove the entire plant at once; however, this means that you will not be able to continue harvesting for the rest of the growing season.

grow cucumber in your garden

Cucumber

Cucumbers are a warm-season vegetable planted outside in the ground no earlier than two weeks after last spring frost date. Cucumbers are extremely susceptible to frost damage. Do not plant outside too soon! For an early crop, start cucumber seeds indoors about 3 weeks before you transplant them in the ground. They like bottom heat of about 70ºF (21ºC). Before you plant outside, select a site with full sun exposure. Water consistently; put your finger in the soil and when it is dry past the first joint of your finger, it is time to water. Inconsistent watering leads to bitter-tasting fruit. Water slowly in the morning or early afternoon, avoiding the leaves. Spray vines with sugar water to attract bees and set more fruit. Cucumbers are best picked before they seeds become hard and are eaten when immature. Do not let them get yellow. A cucumber is of highest quality when it is uniformly green, firm and crisp.

Next week we’ll be sharing tips on how to plant and harvest lettuce, mint, onions, peas and pepper.

About the author:

Sana Athar is a stay at home mom to her three little angels. She lives in Milton, Ontario where she works on her passions: gardening and cooking for family and friends. An MBBS from Karachi, Pakistan, Sana is currently working on obtaining her license to be able to practice medicine in Canada.

Spring Into Fitness

By Coach Paige

565932cb4326dfe8974a538c32d5b556

The snow is melting, the cold is abating, it is time to start celebrating by getting outside! After a season of being stuck indoors your body and mind is craving some fresh air, sunlight and green space.

Benefits of Green Spaces

‘Green space’, ‘urban greenery’, and ‘open space all refer to design and landscaping elements that allow neighbourhoods to improvement in recreation and aesthetics – this includes parks, trails, playgrounds, public plazas, public gardens and essentially any public area covered with trees, grass and shrubs.

There has been in recent years much research into the benefits that green spaces can provide including

  • Enhancing health by providing room to move and thus decreasing the rate of obesity and diabetes.  It has even been shown that by simply viewing green space there is a noticeable decrease in blood pressure and anxiety levels

  • Decreases stress and violence by invoking feelings of tranquility and reducing instances of aggression. Green spaces have also been known to help alleviate the stress and symptoms of a variety of mental health illnesses.

  • Improves concentrations, productivity and morale. Workers and students who  engage with green spaces tend to have a better ability to focus and are less likely to feel “burned out” due to the relaxation from mental fatigue which creates an overall happier work environment. Likewise in neighbourhoods with green spaces, neighbours tend to take a sense of pride in the space leading to less littering and greater community relationships.

  • Improvement in children’s cognitive abilities including and increase ability to concentrate, follow directions, complete tasks, problem solve and thing creativity while also alleviating symptoms of ADD/ADHD and inhibiting impulsive behaviour.

“knowing and experiencing nature makes us generally happier, healthier people”

(Humans and Nature: October 2013)

Get out in the Green

The best way to gain these benefits is to get outside, and there are many ways you can do this as a family or on your own.

  • Bring out the bikes: Biking is a great way to improve your fitness and soak up all that fresh air and sunshine. It also gives you a chance to teach your children about road safety and sustainable transportation.

  • Take a Hike: Go for a walk in nature, choose a hiking trail, pack some water, and appropriate clothing and marvel in the beauty of Allah’s (swt) creation.

  • Walk or Run: Do it for fun or do it for a charity event.  This is also a great way to renew your energy in the middle of your workday.

  • Game on: get outside and play, it can be as simple as tag, or a family game of kick the ball or recreational sports such as badminton, Frisbee, volleyball, soccer, softball, or basketball. Many cities have recreational leagues where you can play just for fun, or throw together some friend and family for a fun game.

  • Learn Golf: whether you hit the course or just the driving range golf is a great full body activity outside

  • Work on your Green Thumb: create a garden, not only is it excellent exercise it will allow you to create more green space as well as provide your family with healthy organic fruits and vegetables. Involve the kids to get them moving and teach them about sustainable food habits and healthy lifestyles.

  • Playground Workout: The kids are having fun and getting fit, you can too! Incline push up and tricep dips from the bench, pull ups on the monkey bars, 1 leg lunges with the other leg in the swing. You can get VERY creative with your workout while keeping it challenging and fun!

    hqdefault

  • Outdoor boot camps:  depending on how the weather fairs in your part of the country, outdoor boot camps are beginning. This is a great way to get guidance and an extra push in your fitness goals as well as get social and meet new friends. There is a class for all levels and even classes for mom to do with baby in the stroller!

  • Stack it Up: If you are into intense workouts then this is a great one for outdoor arenas (provided all the ice is gone). You will run up one “stack” of stairs, over to the next set and then run down that “stack” until you have completed a certain time or number of stacks.

  • Picnic time: Go for a picnic with the family, pack a healthy lunch and there you can receive some of the wonderful relaxation benefits from being outside, as well as try picnic games such as horseshoes, bocce ball, or washer toss.

  • Spring Clean your Fitness Routine: If you have been working out using the same routine all winter – first Kuddos to you for sticking to it! Now is the time to switch it up, change your intervals or your weights, try a new class, join a fitness challenge or hire a trainer.

Spring is such a fantastic time especially after a long hard winter. Whatever activity you decide to try – do it with joy and excitement. You deserve to get outside and have some fun.

About the Author:

Coach Paige has been in the fitness industry for a decade, specializing in helping women achieve their health and fitness goals. She offers 1-on-1 training in her private studio, small group boot camps, and online training and nutrition coaching. Her Lifestyle Studio is in Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia. You can also reach her on her Facebook page here.

7 Ways To Keep Learning Through Vacations

By Mariam Mazhar

Summer is finally here, and so are the much awaited summer holidays. Parents usually have mixed feelings about summer vacations but kids certainly count days for the academic year to end and fun to begin!

This is a tricky time for nervous parents when they take on the challenge of keeping their children physically busy and mentally active during the lazy and hazy days of summer. It is not as hard as it sounds. It just requires some planning, one week of toughness and rest of the seven weeks will go on smooth. Parents just have to be mindful of the fact that it is not just about killing time but about utilizing summer holidays and preventing ‘brain drain’.

Keep Learning…

Your child doesn’t have to fall victim to summer brain drain. You can make an effort to keep his brain engaged during the summer and provide enriching experiences without even trying too hard. Here are a seven easy ways to do that:

Travelling

Are you travelling this summer and anxious because you have young kids? Not to worry at all. You should be glad that you are providing your child with opportunities to study geography, religions and cultures. You can do a whole lesson on Social sciences around it!

Travelling gives children an opportunity to explore different parts of the world or their own country and culture. What they had been reading in books and seeing on TV comes alive for them, so turn it into a productive learning opportunity. Plan trips together, look through maps and google places that you are visiting, estimate distances and mileage and don’t forget keeping a  travel journal.

Discovering nature

No budget for travelling this year? Not to worry. You have a whole world for your kids to explore right in your backyard. Grow fruits, vegetables and all sorts of plantations together. Get them involved in gardening – when they find it has got too tedious since gardening needs patience, get them to at least water the plants to instill responsibility in them.

Looking closely at flowers and drawing them develops the skills of accurately recording and transferring information. Ask them to keep a ‘growth chart’ for plants to track down their growth.

Do not forget all the creepy crawlies and frequent ‘visitors’ to the backyard in the summer! Investigate about the frightful bug found under the rock or the enchanting bird that you saw in the tree. You can do a whole lesson on Life Sciences right in your backyard!

And remember, when you are out and about in the sun, make sure you have proper sun protection on!

Keeping a daily diary

Get them to write at least one daily account of how their day has been. Keeping a record of all the fun activities done during the holidays is purposeful, relevant and a good keepsake too. For young kids it can be a colorful drawing on canvas or chalkboard. Just do not let them detach from the wonderful world of paper and pencil.

Pocket money and math lessons

Giving kids a weekly allowance during the holidays is a great way to teach them money management skills. If you have never done it before, try it this summer. Take your kids to spend their pocket money at the dollar store for new craft supplies or get a treat from the ice cream truck to teach some addition and subtraction on the spot. It gives them hands on experience and makes math a relevant and enjoyable experience.

Grocery shopping

Instead of keeping your kids at home with your spouse or going grocery shopping when kids are busy with their extra-curricular activities elsewhere, take them with you. You will most probably spend double the time and end up buying some not-so-needed items but it will be a good learning experience for them.

Before leaving the house, get them to prepare a grocery list. If they are little older they can make a budget for grocery shopping, estimate prices and help you buy accordingly. You can do a whole lesson on healthy eating right in the grocery store. How’s that?

Catch up with reading 

Reading is a life long passion, make it a part of your daily routine. Assign a special corner in your house for reading.  A special couch or perhaps a new lamp will fascinate them, pull them away from gadgets and closer to books. Keep reading material always available, be it magazines, newspapers or flyers. Take reading outdoors or read in the park. Visit your local library to borrow books. Check out second hand book stores or do a book exchange among your family and friends. Turn it into a fun activity and involve them as well.

Cooking and Science

How about a science lesson right in the kitchen? You can teach them about solids, liquids and gases while baking a cake or while boiling rice! How about adding a math component to it by making some predictions and doing some estimation? Math and science can be so much fun and authentic when done in the kitchen.

A little bit of brain work every day can help retain skills and make next academic year better from day one. It will save them from brain drain and will get them geared up for new educational challenges. Most of all, it will help you remain sane and more in control as a parent!

You can also read through more fun and frugal summer activities here.

About the author:

Mariam Mazhar is the Education contributor at muslimmoms.ca. She is a teacher by profession who contrives ways to stimulate her students’ learning during the school year and her own kids’ during the summer holidays

Enjoy your summer and don’t forget to share with us how you have been doing!

10 Fun and Frugal Summer Activities for Kids

By Sadaf Afshan

Summer Activities

‘Mom, I’m bored!’ Do you dread hearing these words during the much awaited summer months? If expensive summer camps or exotic vacations are beyond your budget, there’s no need to fret. Here are some fun and simple ways to entertain kids during the summer without breaking the bank.

Library Programs

Libraries are not just for books. Kids can rent movies and enjoy story telling sessions or workshops. During the summer most libraries organize lots of fun events such as magic shows, puppet shows, movie screenings etc. which are either free or have a very nominal entry fee. Make sure to buy tickets well in advance as they sell out very quickly.