Fun Activity to do With Your Kids – Gardening
Who says gardening is an activity only enjoyed by the adults? Mmmppphh! Not quite so.
Year 2002 early in May, my family decided to move our home into the countryside. The decision was sudden; in fact I did not know about the plan at all. It was later that I realized that we were moving when a huge container van arrived and my siblings started to move out our things, one by one.
Back then, I have observed my mom busied herself clearing out the weeds in the lot just right beside our new house. I knew it, she’s planning to grow flowering plants, have a garden which she also had back at our old place, but I can’t be more interested. I miss my friends; I miss everything we’ve left back at the city. I hated my new school too. They made us work on our own garden. “I go to school to study, to learn, not to garden”, I said to myself. Well, I never thought gardening was part of the school’s curriculum because we don’t do gardening back at my old school. So, obviously I hated all about moving to a new home, to a new school and to a new literally “earthly” work.
Still I was obliged to do my best on gardening. I was doing it because I was aiming for high marks. Well, days have passed and I started to like gardening, I learned new things and maybe that was why I gained interest in it. I cultivate, I learn about loam soil, I learn that earthworms were not enemies and in fact friendly “little helpers” and more. It was when I made to grow my first bud that my heart was finally drawn one with Mother Nature. Yes, quite a History!
Gardening With Your Kids
Kids are naturally highly curious and like to learn new things hands on especially the ones that really interest them. They just can’t sit still, or even if they do we know how much they want to move their arms, to touch things, to use their hands. They also seem not mind getting dirty; in fact they love to play in the dirt.
Parents, especially those who want to share some quality-time with their kids can enthusiastically invite their kids in the garden and show them a whole new world. A whole new beautiful world full of endless buds of knowledge and sprouts of excitements and surprises.
Gardening is a nice experience for the kids. They get to cultivate, take out the weeds, water the plants, look for earthworms and lay it in their hands, they get all sweaty and dirty but they don’t mind and you will get to see them wearing big smiles of satisfaction at the end of the day.
I remember one TV commercial aired here in the Philippines where random kids get to say “I’ve got stinky…I’ve got dirty…but see…I have learned”. Very much like the kids who do gardening. They may get all sweaty and stinky and dirty but they learn. It is a wonderful thing for parents to expose their kids into gardening. It teaches the kids a very important value in life, to be one with nature. Moreover, the kids will have the opportunity to build up environmental awareness which is most of the times overlooked by parents and even within the school premises. It is indeed admirable to see our kids to have a great admiration and affection with the nature, isn’t it?
I, together with the children also do gardening at home. It is actually there mom, my older sister who initiated this “lets-start-growing-seeds” activity. Now, sharing this activity with the kids has actually become one of the best things I would not want to miss. Really! We usually do gardening several days a week, after school during weekdays and whole day during weekends (it depends if we’ve got something more important to do). We have planted a variety of vegetables and now we don’t have to haste ourselves to the distant supermarket to buy these. Gabby’s watermelon (my niece) is starting to grow its fruit and I can’t be happier seeing her so patiently excited to taste the first fruit of her labor.
I have written this hub to share with you guys some helpful tips and advice for gardening. I do hope that you’ll find this useful. “Have a wonderful gardening experience”, my wishful desire for you and your kids.
Quick-Growing Crops Best for Your Kids
Let your kids choose their desired plant/plants. It is best that they anticipate the growth of the seeds they initially choose. They can’t be more interested with the plant/plants rather than the one they choose to grow. It is also a good idea to show them pictures of what the seeds will grow into.
First-time little gardeners will think that their planted seeds will grow overnight. It is then a better idea to give them easy-to-grow seeds which yield fast results.
- Garden Bed
You need to have a garden that is not too large for your kids. It is admirable that your kids are able to manage their garden. Also, choose a spot for your kid’s garden bed where there is enough sunlight.
- Gardening Tools
- Watering can
- Hoe or rake
- Work Gloves
You can buy gardening tools appropriate for your kids’ age. You can have them start with plastic tools as they are safe and easy-to-use. Buy them real tools only when you think that they are already capable to use them. Always remind your kids to use the tools with safety.
- Organic Fertilizers/Soil Conditioner
- Dried leaves
Let’s Start Growing!
- First you need to have a container garden. This is where the kids grow their seeds into small seedlings. Help the kids transfer the seedlings into their garden bed.
- Plan your garden bed.
Choose a good spot for your garden. A good spot for your garden is where the soil is good, wet (but not too wet), loam, not hard and dry. You can also make your soil better by enriching it with compost. Check for earthworms too. The more earthworms the better your soil is.
A 2x1 meter size garden bed is a good size to start. Help your kids dig the earth to loosen the soil. Mounding up the garden area several inches high will yield you a raised bed garden. A raised bed garden is best for planting crops.
- Engage your kids
Now that your kids have a nice garden bed, you can now help them transfer their seedlings. Teach your kids the proper way of re-planting the seedlings. Dig out the seedlings carefully and make sure to include the soil where their roots are holding. Do not pull out the seedling directly from its base. Seedlings are vulnerable so you need to take extra care with it.
Allow your kids to cultivate the soil but make sure they don’t go nearer the seedlings; they might cut off its tiny roots.
Let them water their plants. Early morning and late afternoon are the best times to water the plants. Also teach them the right way to water plants; a slow, thorough, deep watering is best.
Help your kids in pulling out weeds.
- Offer extra help to your kids; they might have missed some important tasks like taking out slugs, etc.
- Accompany your kids as they earnestly wait for their first harvest!
- Make sure your plants are getting enough water and sunlight. After all, these are the best factors in growing plants.