Show what you may be doing to get kids involved in bonsai

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Show what you may be doing to get kids involved in bonsai

Post  Precarious on Sun May 03, 2015 4:16 pm

I was a little late into the game, but to try to get my teenager interested in bonsai/growing plants, I went to the aquarium supply store for a prop and used a ficus benjamina.  Here is the meager result, which didn't interest my son for very long (imagine, girls/cars/friends/sports began to take precedence affraid ).  Down the road, I will get to the grandkids earlier, though, and follow some new idea ThumbsUp s.  I would be happy to hear what others might be doing to interest children!

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I think we called this, "Lost castle reclaimed by the jungle".

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Re: Show what you may be doing to get kids involved in bonsai

Post  kevin stoeveken on Sun May 03, 2015 9:20 pm

damn david... thats pretty rad... cheesy for growed-up, but cool as hell for a kid...

my 10 year old niece is into it and has her own tree that i am simply the care taker of and i let her do my scroll painting for the last contest i was in...

also, the city to our south (racine wi) has a bonsai club in thier middle school called mahone bonsai club and i donate spekbooms to them...

fun as hell when kids are stoked on this thing of ours.

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Re: Show what you may be doing to get kids involved in bonsai

Post  kevin stoeveken on Sun May 03, 2015 10:07 pm

oh waittaminit... you said "show" not tell...
well, alls i gots is my child labor photos which have never seen the light of day
(because the kids themselves never see the light of day Evil or Very Mad )

my niece emily, repotting spekboom for the mahone middle school bonsai club
(and really earning her bowl of rice a day - another DK quote !)








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Re: Show what you may be doing to get kids involved in bonsai

Post  Precarious on Mon May 04, 2015 12:30 am

Good stuff, Kev. I will find a way to donate something to that club!

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Re: Show what you may be doing to get kids involved in bonsai

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Mon May 04, 2015 1:20 am

Well David and Kevin,

nephew Nick isn't a kid anymore, 18 and exams are just starting on Thursday. As bonsai and older children go, it's the Wu Yee Sun philosophy, education first.
I don't really believe that Bonsai works with anyone under 14 or so, as it's a time of motion.

Still defoliation is a good way to introduce trees and watering.

Here is Nick doing his first solo a few years ago and today he helped me defoliate the Tamarind seen below.
Too early to see if anything will stick, but we had a few laughs, discussions on design [ Nick is training to be an Architect and Civil engineer, and maybe some landscaping as well.]
Laters.
Khai.......

* He also beats a mean blob of 10 carat metal into a ring, with a hammer, as well as setting up solar power systems.

Ficus defoliation


Tamarind


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Re: Show what you may be doing to get kids involved in bonsai

Post  Precarious on Mon May 04, 2015 2:50 am

Great bonding time, Khai!

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Re: Show what you may be doing to get kids involved in bonsai

Post  DougB on Mon May 04, 2015 3:52 pm

Forget the bonsai. First they must really want to spend quality time (hours not seconds) with you. This relationship must be mutual and built over time. When this is in place then they can be introduced to work bonsai or anything else with you. OK now I will leave the pulpit. just my 1.5 cents.

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Re: Show what you may be doing to get kids involved in bonsai

Post  kevin stoeveken on Mon May 04, 2015 6:49 pm

khai - nick seems like one of the good kids... must be that positive influence...

doug - do you have kids ?

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Re: Show what you may be doing to get kids involved in bonsai

Post  JimLewis on Mon May 04, 2015 8:41 pm

Someone please define "kids." Most everyone is a kid to me.

But we've always had one of two young people (15-25 y o) in clubs I've belonged to. Bonsai isn't a sport that's going to attract many "kids." Quite naturally, most would rather do the active stuff - football, baseball, basketball, etc. - and the nerdy (quiet) ones have computers and these modern-day gimmicky phones. And, frankly, I find most people under 30 have the attention span of a gnat, anyway, and that works poorly with bonsai.

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Re: Show what you may be doing to get kids involved in bonsai

Post  kevin stoeveken on Mon May 04, 2015 9:16 pm

JimLewis wrote:Someone please define "kids."  Most everyone is a kid to me.

But we've always had one of two young people (15-25 y o) in clubs I've belonged to.  Bonsai isn't a sport that's going to attract many "kids."  Quite naturally, most would rather do the active stuff - football, baseball, basketball, etc. - and the nerdy (quiet) ones have computers and these modern-day gimmicky phones.  And, frankly, I find most people under 30 have the attention span of a gnat, anyway, and that works poorly with bonsai.  

thats funny, calling it a "sport" !!!
i'm gonna use that...

just for the record, i am here as living proof that bonsai actually helps with ADD Wink

re: who is a kid ?
i love this saying: you dont stop playing because you get old, you get old because you stop playing
(exempt cases of course are when life throws you a damned unfair curve ball Crying or Very sad )


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Re: Show what you may be doing to get kids involved in bonsai

Post  Precarious on Tue May 05, 2015 4:12 am

I thought my Mom was lost in the Land of the Gray Hairs, doing nothing important. But when I happened by, she'd ask me to dig some potatoes, or explain to me that she was growing corn we could pop in the winter, or knowing I liked watermelon she'd plant a hill and point them out to me as they grew. It took a lot of years before I began to like black dirt under my fingernails, the smell of good compost, the progress of something growing. But it's quality time, as Doug mentioned, and you never know where the sown seed might sprout eventually.

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Re: Show what you may be doing to get kids involved in bonsai

Post  Andrew Legg on Tue May 05, 2015 11:05 pm

DougB wrote:Forget the bonsai.  First they must really want to spend quality time (hours not seconds) with you.  This relationship must be mutual and built over time.  When this is in place then they can be introduced to work bonsai or anything else with you.    OK now I will leave the pulpit.  just my 1.5 cents.

Kinda with you and not Doug. I guess bonsai is not ideal to mend a damaged relationship, but I have a five year old and an eight year old. Both enjoy lurking in my en with me. Sometimes for two minutes, and when I'm lucky, for twenty.  My son loves to cut anything to shreds. Just the other day he was trimming 'his' mame shimpaku. :shocked: not ideal, but it made him feel important and included, and that's enough to make me happy, and to hell with the tree. My daughter who is eight has two trees, and they receive care from her, albeit with me filling in the gaps most of the time. She mixes soils with me, waters, pots etc and it is special time.

There is the flip side as well of course. I'm at home more, not out with my buddies the whole time. Bonsai eases my work day stress and that's a good thing for my family relationships. So, yip. Whilst it ain't gonna happen unless there is a positive relationship starting point, I think it contributes in some way the a healthy relationship between me and my kids.

Cheers,

Andrew

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Re: Show what you may be doing to get kids involved in bonsai

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Wed May 06, 2015 2:13 am

Kevin,

Nick comes from a home of slackers and sleepers. 3 years ago all he did was sleep in school and then sleep at home. He was expected to become a road sweeper or drain clearer.
I only met him briefly 5 years ago, and by then he was already 5' 10". Was buried in a Personal Play station.

Started taking him on hikes, and doing things on the beach where he had to use his eyes, head and hands.

He asked his mum to let him work for me at the house in Mayaro. Loved it, mixing cement, plastering walls, and just doing things physical.
I noted he had an amazing memory, caught certain things quickly, and could learn.
So when he was 15 years old he shifted homes.

He was sent to a private school to gain some discipline. I walked him to school [ 2 miles ] when we had to, morning and evening. Other times a friend gave him a lift. [ my dad walked 5 miles to school and then home ]
I am happy to say in local Trinidadian exams he has a distinction in Mathematics, and A passes in English,Biology, Physics and Chemistry.
He also did the overseas English exams out of Cambridge, he has 8 o'levels, at A's and B's with a C in Literature.

He is presently doing, his Advanced Level exams for entry in an English University, perhaps Oxford, Cambridge or London.

I have added on basic Jewellery, Pottery and some backyard Organic Agriculture.
He grew so many tomatoes last year, we didn't have to purchase any for the entire year.

I am very proud of him!!

He helps water the bonsai, has planted two trees into his 2 handmade Bonsai pots and loves to sift soil or compost.
He is also a chick magnet and has learned to control his social life. So it's education first, land and house second, wife hopefully some where around 28 to 35 years of age. I have explained to him that after marriage he can be as rabbits for the rest of his natural life, Laughing Laughing Laughing

Anyhow, we are now doing the same for his younger sister and two other cousins. The love of nature comes from experiencing it.
Apologies if this too personal. I wanted to share some of the joy, that comes with watching someone develop into a young gentleman.
Laters.
Khai....


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Re: Show what you may be doing to get kids involved in bonsai

Post  kevin stoeveken on Wed May 06, 2015 12:41 pm

your pride does not seem misplaced khai...

well said and well done.


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Re: Show what you may be doing to get kids involved in bonsai

Post  Precarious on Wed May 06, 2015 2:02 pm

I agree with you, Andrew, on much of what you said. I suspect that even damaged relationships can be worked on in an atmosphere of love for/respect of/tending to nature, and growing things. Actually rather symbolic, I think.

Khaimraj, I admire your vision and effort with Nick. The results are light upon light, don't you think?

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Re: Show what you may be doing to get kids involved in bonsai

Post  Bolas on Wed May 06, 2015 6:25 pm

I started very fast '08 '09 '15:



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Re: Show what you may be doing to get kids involved in bonsai

Post  Precarious on Wed May 06, 2015 7:32 pm

Beautiful girl, you will have to post the first tree she does on her own!

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Re: Show what you may be doing to get kids involved in bonsai

Post  kevin stoeveken on Thu May 07, 2015 1:02 am

and no-body that i know of does more to encourage kids and bonsai than milwaukee bonsai society member jean s. !!!

she is a teacher and she has formed the mahone middle school bonsai club (which i mentioned before...)

here she is with some of the club as they all came to see mauro stemberger at the milwaukee bonsai society's "excellence in bonsai" program



i believe the kid on the far left is caid (sp ?)...
he and i had a few laughs pulling pig-tails and hassling "teach"  Wink
caid also has an awesome ficus (and i aint just saying that) and he scored a nice brazillian raintree last fall...

here he is helping "da chopper" apply the tape over the rafia while mauro "supervises"  Wink





and here is the club giving mauro one of their club shirts they all autographed...
(waittaminit - thats backwards  scratch  Laughing )














good topic david !!!

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Re: Show what you may be doing to get kids involved in bonsai

Post  jgeanangel on Thu May 07, 2015 5:50 pm

As a teacher, I have also done a lot with elementary students...

This year I have shared trees and a short presentation with a little over 100 5th grade students and also had an extended session with a group of middle schoolers at a nearby school.

Over the years I have shared trees and given a basic overview of bonsai to at least 2000 kids. They always have some of the best comments and observations... One of my favorite occurred when a young boy looked at a Water Elm and Bald Cypress group and said, "that looks exactly like where my Dad takes me fishing"

I recently spent a day with a 15 year old whose father brought him over 100 miles to visit in my garden. The young man suffers from a pretty debilitating disease but has developed a huge passion for bonsai. He has done tons of research and is very capable of putting theoretical knowledge into practice. It was very rewarding to watch his father just beam and get teary as the son and I talked bonsai and horticulture.



The other thing I like to do is surprise a kid with a gifted tree when I vend at the Carolina Bonsai Expo...

If I am not mistaken, my good friend, Ken, did something similar about 15-20 years ago for this tall skinny blonde haired kid from Knoxville....now most of us know that skinny kid as Bjorn!

I have always felt extremely fortunate to have a couple of folks, my buddy Ken primarily, that were very good to me in my formative bonsai years...when money was tight and knowledge just beginning to grow....they helped me along. I feel now that it is my turn to "pay it forward" when the opportunity arises.

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Re: Show what you may be doing to get kids involved in bonsai

Post  LanceMac10 on Thu May 07, 2015 6:21 pm

Oh crap, reading thru these posts has got me feeling' a little down on myself. I have a two year old son and all I do is try to keep him outta' bonsai!!! Although watering is a little easier, he spies the watering can and says "Daddy help?" Of course, when you tell him "No", I think he hears something different. Something like, "Grin slyly at your old-man and then run thru the backyard grabbing any leaf within reach!" Oddly enough, he sees me do dishes every day and never once has offered to pitch-in!! Lazy like his mom and a punk like me, he really is a chip off the old block. I jest, but I think you know where I'm coming from. Mauro is going to be at Bonsai West in Massachusetts, USA this weekend. Unable to attend.No

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Re: Show what you may be doing to get kids involved in bonsai

Post  kevin stoeveken on Thu May 07, 2015 6:27 pm

right on john !!!

i shoulda know'd you would do all that !

jgeanangel wrote:Over the years I have shared trees and given a basic overview of bonsai to at least 2000 kids.  They always have some of the best comments and observations...  One of my favorite occurred when a young boy looked at a Water Elm and Bald Cypress group and said, "that looks exactly like where my Dad takes me fishing"

and i can see why that one would stick in your head...
sometimes it takes the eye of a child to see clearly  Wink

and yeah lance, mauro mentioned that as his next stop... too bad you can't make it...
the guy really was a blast to watch (the little i could watch as he put brian da chopper and i to work)

and pretty funny re: your boy... but don't worry, it will get worse Twisted Evil

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Re: Show what you may be doing to get kids involved in bonsai

Post  Precarious on Thu May 07, 2015 10:45 pm

beer city snake wrote:good topic david !!!

It became a good topic once it started filling up with people's stories. I hope more people share, and I hope people resurrect this thread periodically to share what they did after being inspired here to do some activity with kids.

I gotta say, Kevin, Milwaukee seems to be on fire as far as bonsai goes.

Lance, got a raggedy old tree your son could make his own? It would make a good source for redirecting his awesome energy!

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Re: Show what you may be doing to get kids involved in bonsai

Post  kevin stoeveken on Fri May 08, 2015 1:52 pm

yeah david, i gotta agree and say that i feel very fortunate...

the milwaukee bonsai society is a very active and dynamic club that really strives to bring in top notch acts.

couple that with the 10 or so guys in the milwaukee chapter of the AAC having round-robin work sessions once a month and my dance card is full !!!

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Re: Show what you may be doing to get kids involved in bonsai

Post  Khaimraj Seepersad on Fri May 08, 2015 5:29 pm

it is hard, for me, to really take anyone under 14 very serious, as Bonsai goes.

[1] I am very aware that a seedling is a lifeform, and I do my best not to kill / damage/ do any harm.

[2] Children, are very much in Motion, and it is very rare, that any can focus for a period of time on anything.

[3] I prefer to work with anyone who is older than 14, and shows some level of maturity.

[4] I think -repetitive chores - as Bonsai go [ watering, weeding, sifting, etc ] are way more helpful. Keeping something alive, is a blend of love and discipline.

[5] My yard is large enough, to be physically divided, so the dogs and children, don't get near the bonsai. Lots of cricket, football [ soccer ] catch, rough housing etc. and I don't have to worry.

For me, childhood is exploration, explanations and doing.
Bonsai is an inactivity, and I would rather the young ones spend time with their friends, learning how to be a person, and getting a handle on getting along with other people.

Anyhow if I write anymore it will be about, the bigger folk with child-like joys, and having decided to do, with an ability to continue doing.
Later.
Khai......

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Re: Show what you may be doing to get kids involved in bonsai

Post  kevin stoeveken on Mon May 11, 2015 12:50 pm

Khaimraj Seepersad wrote:For me, childhood is exploration, explanations and doing.
couldnt agree more !

Khaimraj Seepersad wrote:Bonsai is an inactivity
sorry khai, but i couldnt agree less...
at least in spring and fall in climates with very distinct seasons (i.e. summer vs winter extremes)
couple that with pruning, wiring, repotting etc and after a full day of it, i am bushed !!!
(as was my very energetic niece when she helped out)

Khaimraj Seepersad wrote:I would rather the young ones spend time with their friends, learning how to be a person, and getting a handle on getting along with other people.

shirley, they can do both... can't they ? Wink

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