With schools closed, and kids spending more time at home, parents and caregivers are scrambling to keep their kids engaged and entertained. It’s also more important than ever to get your kids out of the house and into the fresh air. Well, if you’ve stumbled upon our blog chances are you’re already a gardener yourself, and gardening is one of the easiest hobbies you can get your kiddos into. Keep reading for some ideas on how to get your kids involved in the garden.
An easy way to empower and get your child excited about gardening is by including them from the get-go. Sit down with them at home and plan a garden design. Ask their opinion on everything from types of plants, to colors, and extra decorations. If your kid loves to get involved in the kitchen, be sure to get plenty of seasonally appropriate veggies and fruits to grow together. If they prefer the beauty and aroma of flowers, pick a nice array of flowers for them to watch grow and bloom. There are also plenty of "weird" plants like fly catchers that kids get super interested in watching grow and eat!
Once you have a rough plan of what you’ll be growing and how, head to your local nursery with your little gardener. This is another great way to get them involved and feeling like they have a real say. To keep their expectations managed, tell them they can pick a certain number of plants, or that they need to stay within a certain budget. This is a great learning opportunity for kids of all ages as you can do simple math exercises, and even more complicated stuff like managing a budget and calculating tax. Don’t make it too stressful though, or they won’t be as excited to get into the garden. After you have found your plants, and other essentials, pick out a garden mascot. Something like a garden gnome is the perfect option. You can have your child name the mascot, and charge it with watching over the garden. It’s all about making the gardening process whimsical and fun, while also teaching them the essentials of responsibility and caring for something.
Once it’s time to start planting, be sure to explain to your kids the reasoning behind things. From the type of soil you use to the spot in the garden you’re planting, if you educate them on these aspects they’ll be a lot more engaged than if you just tell them the what and not the why. When you’re having them help with digging and planting, pick out a special tool for them to use that is all theirs. You can let them pick out a special trowel at the nursery, or you can let them decorate an old tool that you have laying around. As with anything you give your kids, make sure the tool is safe to use and doesn’t have splintered wood or too sharp of edges. OurTerra Garden Mattock is perfect for older kids because it has soft cushioned grips and no super sharp edges. If your child is in the younger range, you can also buy special tools that are made just for kids and come in fun colors.
The last, and most satisfying step of gardening with kids is watching your garden grow! Designate an hour every day for you and your child to head out into the garden and do your daily tasks. You can manage everything together, or for older kids you can give them a specific task to accomplish. If there is something strenuous to do, like pulling weeds, the key is to phrase the task as a way to help the plants grow. Instead of telling your kid, "We need to pull weeds", say "We should remove these bad plants so that the good plants have room to grow". When it's time to harvest, make sure you do this together because it is the most satisfying part of gardening!
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