Kids have no idea where food comes from

Too many children grow up thinking vegetables come from the supermarket rather than from the ground’ Alan Titchmarsh

Why it’s important to teach kids gardening

I was doing a bit of research for this post I wanted to write about the fantastic things the Gardening Club is doing at my daughter’s school and became distracted and stunned by how little kids know about where their food comes from.

In 2010, as part of a promotion for his Food Revolution, Jamie Oliver went into a class of First Graders (six-year olds) and presented them with a variety of common vegetables.  He holds up a few tomatoes and asks the kids what they are.  They are all stumped, faces screwed up and then one offers ‘potatoes’.  They thought Cauliflower was Broccoli and that a Beetroot was Celery.  This was truly frightening.

But, Apparently it’s not just American Kids who are oblivious when it comes to food.

‘In 2013, a British survey found that almost a third of the country’s primary school children thought cheese was made from plants and a quarter thought fish fingers came from chicken or pigs.’

‘LEAF (Linking Environment and Farming), surveyed 2000 people aged between 16 and 23 years and found a third of them did not know that bacon came from pigs.’

‘Researchers also found that four in 10 young adults did not know where milk came from, with 40 per cent of them failing to recognise the link between milk and a picture of a dairy cow.’


Growing up as a child, my grandmother was an avid gardener, she had the most amazing vegetable garden, she grew absolutely everything herself in meticulously planted raised beds.  She also had a cold cellar where she kept all the produce, what they didn’t eat fresh, she canned.  She made the best Raspberry Jam ever.  We also had our own vegetable gardens over the years and in my 30s I had an allotment so I’m fairly familiar with most vegetables.

However, I can now see why many kids are naïve when it comes to the origins of what’s on their plates and if you asked them they would probably say it comes from the supermarket.  Children only see adults selecting fruit and vegetables from the produce aisle and putting it in the little flimsy plastic bags or having it delivered to their doorsteps, many kids don’t have an opportunity to see or experience the journey (Sowing, Planting and Harvesting)  before the produce reaches the supermarket.

Gardening Ideas for Kids

Alan Titchmarsh believes children should be taught gardening as one of the “basic skills of life” and I agree with him.  We are very lucky at our school and we have a gardening club which is run by a very enthusiastic parent volunteer.  This year they are hoping to enter St Albans District Schools in Bloom Competition.

The kids have been very busy planting everything from potatoes to petunias and are involved in the process from sowing the seeds, to planting in the ground, harvesting the crops and they will also go on to sell some of the produce.

Meet Straw Barry!  Genius!

 Gardening ideas for kids

Anyone for a game of Mini-beast Noughts and Crosses?

Garden games for kids

Who would have thought of planting potatoes in tires.

Ideas for recycling tires

A Greenhouse made from Recycled Bottles courtesy of the Site Manager

 Ideas for recycling soft drink bottles

It’s amazing what a lick of paint can do to a derelict picnic table.  The kids now have a potting table.

 Potting table made from recycled picnic table

My favourite is the Daffodil Welly planters.

Creative Gardening Ideas for Kids


We also received a selection of mystery bulbs from Spalding Bulbs.  The kids had a blast trying to work out what they were.  They haven’t come up yet but we will report back once they do.  Hmmm.  I wonder what they will be.  They could be flowers or vegetables.

Thanks to all the hard work from our parent volunteer, I have no doubt that these kids know where fruit and vegetables comes from and if you showed them a potato they could identify it.

Good luck in the competition.





9 Strange Easter Traditions from Around the World

In Association with First Choice

Easter Traditions in Other Countries

happy easter

I’ve been living in the UK for 15 years now, originally from Canada and for the most part Easter and the traditions around it are fairly similar; people giving up things for Lent, attending church, decorating Easter Eggs, a visit from the Easter Bunny, overindulging in chocolate, making Easter Bonnets and of course you can’t forget the Hot Cross Buns.

For us as a family it’s more about the celebration of the beginning of spring.  We enjoy decorating Easter Eggs and we always have a small Easter Egg Hunt at home and on occasion join in more organised Easter Egg Trails elsewhere. I think it’s the only day of the year she’s allowed to eat chocolate before breakfast.

I always thought the Brits were a bit odd!

However, I have discovered one rather strange Easter Tradition here in the UK and that is the annual Pancake Race on Shrove Tuesday.  Pancake Day wasn’t new to me, as historically people had pancakes to use up all of the rich ingredients such as butter, eggs and sugar that they were giving up for Lent, but competitively racing through the streets with a frying pan definitely was.

ScreenHunter_215 Mar. 28 15.20

Apparently, this tradition originated when a housewife was so busy making pancakes that she forgot the time and when she heard the church bells she ran out of the house still carrying the frying pan.

This got me thinking about other slightly bizarre Easter Traditions around the world.

Luckilly in this day and age it has been easier than ever to reach other countries for Easter, for example First Choice or Thompsons offer flights to countries like Portugal, Spain and Greece, all of which celebrate Easter too.


9 Strange Easter Traditions from Around the World


1) In parts of North East England and Scotland they roll decorated Easter Eggs down a hill to see which one cracks first.


2) In Poland, they have a tradition of using a mold to create Butter Lamb Sculptures which are presented in decorative bowls or baskets and symbolize the ‘Lamb of God’.


3) In many places in Greece, including Crete, the children spend the day collecting materials for a bonfire and then after Midnight Mass on the Saturday the light an effigy of Judas.


4) I don’t fancy being a female in Slovakia.  The girls are chased through the streets while the males whip them with sticks made from willow branches.  Apparently this ensures fertility and beauty.  Sounds a tad barbaric to me.


5) You won’t find the Easter Bunny in Australia, where bunnies are deemed to be pests, instead you will find Chocolate Bilbies.  Australians use this as an opportunity to build awareness for this endangered species.

6) In Hungary, they are partial to a giant water fight where the men throw water on women dressed in traditional clothes.

7) Easter in Finland, look a lot like Halloween in other parts of the world.  The children scour the streets looking for treats while dressed as witches with brooms.


8) The Germans take the opportunity to mark the end of winter and beginning of spring by burning their Christmas trees!


9) And I always thought New Zealanders were gentle easy going people, but instead of an Easter Egg Hunt they partake in The Great Easter Bunny Hunt where hunters join together in teams and shoot as many bunnies as they can.

Some of these look like great fun and others slightly cruel.  I think we’ll stick to eating chocolate and wishing for Spring.

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Chrissie Duck!

Tonight I was telling hubby about the Flap Jack debacle, where they’ve been banned due to Health and Safety issues, some kid was hit in the head with one.  His immediate response was, as predicted, a rant about the nanny state, which I completely agree.

Then he moved on to talking about, as he does, when he went to school and the teachers used to throw board rubbers, you know the ones with the wood backing???  This triggered a personal memory.

When I was about 7 possibly 8.  I explicitly remember my teacher writing this on the board.

Chalkboard (1)

Being blonde, or possibly young,  it took a minute for the penny to drop, but when it did, I hit the deck.  Then he proceeded to chuck the board rubber at the kid behind me.  I honestly, don’t know if it hit the kid but I reckon it was probably deserved.

I would never condone such behaviour as it borders on abuse and would never mention the teachers name as he’s probably comfortably in retirement if he isn’t dead already, and he was my favourite teacher ever.

However, and I think this is the point to think about, I stopped, I listened and didn’t question or challenge authority.

I think there is something in this?  Thoughts?



Spelling Roolz!

People are forever apologizing on Twitter for spelling mistakes, but to be honest, being a former primary school teacher I can read just about anything.  I also have a knack for reading upside down.

Funnily though, I used to be a very good speller until I started teaching, now I look at everything twice.  Sometimes the way children spell is incredibly logical.  For example, ‘fone’ it makes perfect sense and does apply the rules of phonics and I’m not surprised children find it difficult to spell ‘phone’.  However, I do want them to learn to spell correctly and I hate seeing text speak anywhere but on a mobile, msn or twitter.

Over the years I’ve developed a few quirky ways of helping me to spell……

Island – ‘is land surrounded by water

Tomatoes – ‘I squished the tomato with my toes

Broccoli – ‘Two lion cubs and one lioness’ (two c’s and one l).  This one is courtesy of the zany @iaingilmour

Stationery – I think of the ‘e’ in envelope

And of course the good old ‘i before e except after c’.  So, you could imagine my surprise when Stephen Fry, the all-round English genius, reported on QI that is not the case and that there are over 900 instances when this rule doesn’t apply (e.g. Weird, ancient, glacier, policies, society, science).  Now I’m scuppered!

Can you think of any others?

Do you have any tricks for remembering spellings?

Does anyone have a Mnemonic for the word Mnemonic?

How many spelling mistakes did you find in this post?