Introduce Your Child to Gardening
There is no better way to have your child enjoy the wonders of the earth than growing a garden. Gardening teaches the importance of caring for the earth, creates a deeper appreciation of meals, and provides explanation of the origin and growth cycles of foods and plants. Gardening also promotes ‘playing with dirt’ with edible rewards.
During your gardening process, allow your child to do much as they possible with your assistance. Allow them to choose fast growing flowers and foods are to be grown. Some suggestions are marigolds, sunflowers, cherry tomatoes, and carrots. Allow your child to pick a suitable area in your yard for the garden. Soil filled garden pots or plastic jugs can be used for garden beds if there is no yard space available. Simply transfer seedlings into a larger container as the seedlings sprout.
Explain the importance of each gardening step while your child performs it. Allow your child to loosen the dirt and remove debris with toy rakes or their hands. Let your child use their fingers to create a pocket for the seeds in the soil and then cover with loose soil. Explain the need for adequate spacing and other requirements your seedling packet may instruct. Maintenance should not be treated as a chore but as play. Use children themed watering cans for moisturizing the soil, and bright gardening gloves for pulling weeds. Using pesticide is discouraged, but if you must, use an organic based pesticide.
Document each stage of the garden (sprouting, budding, and etc.) with pictures and samples to create a timeline. This will allow your child to familiarize themselves with the gardening process and will know what to expect from their next garden. Once the fruits of your child’s labor has bloomed and ripened, explain how the foods are incorporated into their meals. Allow your child to treat guests to a lunch using mainly the foods from their garden and decorate the table with a flower arrangement of their home grown flowers. Make sure to praise your child for the work well done during the maintenance of the garden and preparation of the lunch.
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