10 Tips for Gardening with Kids ~ Gardening with Children
Gardening is for Kids Too!
Gardening with kids can be a fun and rewarding experience for you and your children. There are so many benefits to gardening, one of which is stress relief.
It is amazing how therapeutic it can be to feel the cool moist dirt slip through your fingers as you work in your garden. Kids love to play in the dirt and are often rewarded with a surprise – an earthworm or other type of insect.
And to see a small plant grow from a seed they themselves planted is a miracle that is awesome to share.
Tips for Working with Kids in the Garden
- Consider creating a plot (perhaps beginning 3 feet x 3 feet) which the child is entirely responsible for. Guide them through the process that needs to be done, but allow them to be responsible for doing everything that needs to be done on that area of the garden. This will help them learn from their successes as well as their failures.
- Certain vegetables provide more satisfaction to children. Radishes, for instance, will sprout in 3-5 days and can be harvested in 30 days. Other great choices include zucchini, peas, pumpkins, carrots, and lettuce.
- Planting vegetable transplants such as tomatoes and peppers gives a quick start to your child’s garden. Transplants are also available for herbs and flowers.
- Remember that young children can have very short attention spans, but there are plenty of varied tasks that need to be done in a garden to help deal with this issue.
- Allow the children to help pick out the seeds you will be planting. The seed packets are all bright and colorful, and your child’s curiosity will be piqued by all the types of seeds available. They may be inspired to ask questions about the different vegetables, especially those they have never seen or tasted before.
- Allow your children to get dirty without reprimanding them for it. Getting dirty is a part of life, especially the life of a child.
- Talk to your child about the different insects you find in your garden. Teach them there are insects which are bad for your garden and insects which are good for your garden. Teach them which insects can be harmful to them, such as bees, wasps and some spiders. By allowing and even encouraging your child to interact with the various (safe) insects your child will not develop a fear of insects that many people have.
- Be sure to be a good role model in taking care of your garden, encouraging them to do the same in their gardening area.
- If gardening with several children try to keep the seeds and tasks evenly divided to prevent squabbles.
- Encourage your child to create and keep a garden journal. In their journal, let them document what they planted and when they planted it. Have them draw pictures of the different bugs they saw in the garden. If they are interested in identifying the bugs, consider getting them an insect field guide to encourage their curiosity.
Create a Love of Gardening for a Lifetime
Spend time in the garden with your child. If a love of nature, plants and gardening is instilled in your child when they are young, it will remain with them for a lifetime. What a wonderful and practical gift!
Check out Growing Healthy and Happy Kids in the Garden ~ Gardening with Children to learn more.
© 2012 Cindy Murdoch