Spring is the best season for gardening, especially if you’re planning to start a garden with your kids. This guest post from Tina at Garden Loka shares some of her best tips for getting started and making it a fun family project.
Gardening is a simple process, a way to grow your own food and connect with the Earth. In many ways, gardening is therapeutic, for adults and children. Our normal lifestyle disconnects us from the Earth and the natural world around us.
Children love to garden. They get their hands dirty and learn the process of life. Gardening is educational. If you involve your kids from the start, they see the entire life cycle of a seed. A few months after planting, your kids can help harvest the produce and see the rewards of their hard work. Here are some easy ways to get your children involved in the garden.
8 Ways to Garden with Your Kids
1. Let Them Plant Seedlings: If you start your plants from seeds, it is a delicate process. However, that doesn’t mean your kids can’t help you! In each pot, have your child set two to three seeds. As they grow under the grow lights, it is an excellent opportunity to teach your child how to water plants properly.
2. Create Their Own Children’s Garden: Some parents are hesitant to allow children to work in their garden, or the set up might not be child-friendly. If you have space, allow your child to plant their own garden. In this area, your child can pick the plants they want to grow and plant them in a way that she enjoys.
There are many fun ways to let your child garden in their own space. One of my favorite ways is to build a trellis teepee. Use large sticks and form a teepee, tied at the top with twine. You will need to bury the bottom of the sticks in the ground. Then, wind string around the teepee, leaving one area open so your child can crawl inside. Select a pole plant such as peas or green beans, and plant the seeds around the base of the teepee. Soon, the vines will grow up the teepee, creating your child’s own hiding place in their garden.
3. Pull Weeds Together: When children and parents work alongside together, it gives you time to teach your child and enjoy their company. A garden requires maintenance, just like your relationship with your child. Spend time working together towards a single goal – a bountiful harvest. As you pull weeds, explain to your child that weeds need to be eliminated because they take away vital nutrients that could be used by the vegetable plants.
4. Decorate The Garden Together: There is no reason your garden has to be dreary. Some of the best ways to add excitement to your garden are with decoration. Children are creative beings and excel when able to release that creativity. Paint rocks together. Create stepping stones and decorate birdhouses together. If you have a raised bed, paint each bed an exciting color on the exterior. Allow your child to paint different containers for flowers.
5. Eat Out of the Garden: Most little children are curious about what they are growing, and they should be! Curiosity is the mark of a smart child. If your child wants to take a bite out of a tomato or open a pod of peas, let him! It is a great way to get kids to try food they typically would avoid on the dinner plate. Somehow, veggies seem more appealing when grown at home.
6. Harvest Together: After months of tending to a garden, your child will love when it comes time to harvest. Teach your child how to pick green beans and tomatoes. Harvest zucchini and peas. Your child will love seeing the harvest basket overflowing with produce. Be careful when allowing your child to pick anything on a vine. Children tend just to yank. Teach them how to twist and gently pull.
7. Create a Butterfly Garden: Children love butterflies. They are fascinating creatures to watch and to grow! One way to excite your kids is to build a butterfly garden. There are a lot of plants, such as the Butterfly Bush, that specifically attract butterflies. Spend time with your child designing an area just for your kid to watch the butterflies fluttering around.
8. Grow Flowers for Clipping: Everyone loves to have fresh flowers on the kitchen table. If you are unsure about what flowers to grow, consider growing tall flowers so your child can clip them. Each week, your child can cut a beautiful bouquet of flowers they helped to grow. It is an excellent way to peek their interest.
Including your child in your garden is a great way to spend time together. Children crave fun ways to learn and enjoy connecting with the Earth. Above all else, gardening is a calming activity. Kids benefit from time concentrating on the simple tasks. Remember to talk to your child about more than gardening. Soon, you both will look forward to this time each day.
My passion is gardening. Along with my husband and children, each year we grow a garden large enough to provide our family of five with over half of our needed produce. Besides vegetables and a small berry patch, I also focus my attention on beautifying our home with strategically placed flowers, herbs, and flowering plants. Gardening is more than just a hobby; it is a way of life.