If you are looking for ideas for how to garden with kids and ways to encourage children to learn and to enjoy gardening, you've come to the right place!
If you, like me, are an avid gardener, then you are most likely interested in encouraging your children or your grandchildren to find pleasure in gardening too!
Observing your love of gardening and the way it adds beauty to your home and the taste of summer's goodness to your table, will often inspire children to follow in your "footsteps".
Gardening with kids will also provide you with opportunities to teach your children the importance of taking care of the earth.
It is surprisingly easy to grow flowers, fruits and veggies in your own backyard, and you don't need a large property!
Cultivating an interest in gardening in children needs to include a "fun" element as well as a learning element, so be sure to make the projects and activities something the kids look forward to working on!
Keep in mind that children are more likely to want to repeat "good experiences".
Here are some ideas to help you get started:
Give kids their own gardening space - Younger kids can learn to grow plants in a window box or in a pot, while a section of your garden plot, or a garden of their own would be more suitable for older children.
Having their "own garden space" will give them a needed sense of ownership.
Consider the kid's own temperament - Some children may prefer to grow flowers, while others may be more interested in growing fruits and vegetables.
Choose your crops wisely - Choose a variety of fruit or vegetable plants and flowers with different textures and colours.
Kids will tend to sample the produce they have grown themselves, so select appropriate plants to grow.
For example, cherry tomatoes, carrots, and sugar snap peas are fun for kids to eat.
Grow most annuals from seeds, but try to include perennials plants too.
Start some plantings indoors - Have the kids read the directions on the seed packets to determine planting times, light requirements, temperature requirements, and how much water the plants will need.
Start seedlings early on using the windowsills for light.
Visit the library - Encourage the kids to read (age appropriate) books about different aspects of gardening, for example: annual plants, perennial plants, companion gardening, common plant pests, organic gardening, pollination, and include reading material about the role of worms, toads and helpful garden insects.
Books make great gifts for kid birthdays too!
Keep a journal - Track the garden's progress by recording it in a journal, including photos.
This will help to encourage children to persist in their gardening endeavours as they see the how their garden has evolved over time - with their efforts and hard work!
Invest in kid-size garden tools - Colourful and age-appropriate garden tools make gardening that much more attractive to children!
Shovels, rakes, and garden gloves made especially for kids means that they don't have to struggle with large and heavy adult equipment.
Add a fun element - keep gardening a fun hobby by including a craft project such as building a scare crow, making a toad house, building a bird house, or making your own garden stepping stones, or make plant signs.
Consider entries into local fairs - encourage the older kids to enter flowers, fruit or vegetables they have grown into local fairs.
Remember too, that garden topics make good biology projects or science fair entry ideas!
Don't make gardening a chore - try to keep "work" sessions in the garden reasonably short, and age appropriate.
When it's time to weed, join in and make it a fun task!
Also, don't insist on completing garden work when it is uncomfortably warm outside.
Enjoy the results - be sure to use the homegrown fruits and vegetables that the kids have produced in their garden for meals!
Encourage the children to harvest and prepare their own food, and to assist you with freezing the extra!
Let them pick the flowers they grow, and display them proudly in your home - or let them present a bouquet of their own, homegrown, flowers to their grandparents or a neighbour.
If the children are encouraged by tangible results, they will be much more likely to be excited to continue their gardening project next year!
With these tips for how to garden with kids - Let's Get Started!
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