Planting and tending to a garden can be fun and educational for children of all ages. Whether growing herbs, vegetables, or flowers, children and gardens are well suited partners. Kids love getting messy and digging in the dirt. They enjoy the outdoors and will be amazed when the little seeds that they planted turn into beautiful flowers or delicious vegetables. Often, picky eaters will even turn into veggie lovers when they have had a part in growing vegetables in their own garden.
Get Them Involved
In order to get the most from your gardening experience, let your children be involved from the start. Choose a nice, sunny spot in the yard and let them help you to get the soil ready for planting. Talk about how much fun you will have together as you grow your garden and how much you will enjoy the things that you have grown. Allow your children to choose some of the things to plant, and encourage them to find a vegetable or two that they have never eaten before. There is no better way to get a kid to eat veggies than to grow a few!
Kid Friendly Plants
Kids, especially younger ones, need to see progress fairly quickly. Cucumbers, peas, and radishes come up quickly, so try to include at least one of these in your garden. Kids also tend to favour plants that get tall, such as corn or tomatoes on the vine.
When selecting flowers, try to select some that will bloom at different times throughout the season so that you have colourful blooms for an extended period. Allow your children to cut blooms for inside vases and be sure to show your appreciation for the way that the flowers brighten up the house.
The Right Tools
Gardening is fun but it can also be hard work. One of the ways to make the job easier is to have the right tools. Purchase a set of child-sized gardening tools, as well as a few pairs of gardening gloves. Rubber clogs are great for using in the garden since they can be rinsed off when the muddy work is completed. Children can have a great time choosing these things for themselves, so plan to add these to your cart when you shop for seeds or seedlings at the beginning of the season.
Share the Chores
Sometimes, kids can lose interest in a project once it is underway. They may have been all pumped up about the idea of planting a garden, but once they are out there pulling weeds, their enthusiastic attitude may wane a bit. Keep them interested by helping out with the work and be sure to talk about your garden project with eagerness rather than looking at it as a chore. Talk about the delicious things that you are growing and look for recipes that you can make together. If you stay enthusiastic, your children will, too.
One of the biggest advantages of tending a garden with your children is the time that it allows for you to spend with them. Some of the best conversations happen when you are busy working on a project together, so relax and enjoy those hours that you get with your child, side by side, as you plant, weed, and harvest your garden. You are growing more than plants here; you are growing memories, too.