Gardening with kids is fun, simple, and educational. In addition to allowing children to satisfy their natural desire to dig and explore, gardening teaches patience, love of food and respect for plants and insects. It also offers valuable lessons on the role of the seasons, weather and mother nature.
Here are five ways you can enjoy gardening with your kids.
1. Choose plants together. At your local nursery or garden store, let your children help select the seeds or small plants. Non toxic/non thorny edible plants such as mint, tomatoes, and carrots are particularly easy to grow and yield exciting results. They will really appreciate it when the plant grows transforms into the final vegetable, herb, or fruit.
2. Plant seeds or seedlings together. Let them get their hands dirty with quality organic soil. As you are planting, talk about why you are placing plants a distance from each other, and think about what size the plants will be when they are fully mature. For a fun craft project, create garden markers for each of your plants and insert them in the soil near your seeds or seedlings.
3. Dig together. Designate a special area of the garden (or set aside pots) specifically for digging. Kids absolutely love to dig, and once seeds are planted, you’ll want them to dig in a separate space to not disturb the seedlings. Give children their own small tools and gloves and bury shells or sea glass in a pot of organic soil for them to dig up the treasure.
4. Water and care for your plants together. Watering plants is a great job for kids as little as two years old. There are great child-sized watering cans, such as the Bibi Bee can from Melissa & Doug. Watch for flowers and talk about how flowers turn into fruit. Talk about the recent weather and the need to supplement nature’s rainfall with water from your garden hose. Also, talk about the recent heat and sunshine and how that affects appearance and growth. Kids also like bugs and insect-eating animals such as geckoes, toads, spiders, and snakes. Look for them around your garden.
5. Harvest together! Look at pictures in books or on the internet together of what your plants will look like when they are ready to harvest. This is especially important for plants that ripen on the vine, like tomatoes (the excitement of little fingers can pluck them off too soon). Find recipes you can prepare with your home grown treasures and congratulate your child on all their hard work.
Gardening – it’s easy, it’s fun, it’s educational, and it’s yummy! Get to work with these simple steps and watch your little ones become instant nature lovers. Enjoy!
I originally shared this content as a guest post over at A Peek Into My Paradise, however it looks like that site is down, so I want to bring it back over here! GOOD STUFF!
Author: Candace Thomas