I've been gardening for many years, and one of my favorite things to do is get kids involved in gardening. It can serve as a great outside classroom.
Kids who play outside regularly develop stronger immune systems as they improve their motor skills. And let's face it, getting them away from screen time and out into the fresh air will do wonders for their bodies and minds - and maybe yours, too.
And because children are very tactile, they respond well to color, scent, and texture, and those are things that can easily be incorporated into their very own garden spot.
How to start? First, it's important that the thought of having a garden seems fun and inviting to a child. Before the garden season starts, you can introduce the idea of gardening with garden-themed toys or games.
For older kids, consider garden crafts that are easy and fun to do. Decorate stepping stones or rocks or make plant markers that can later be used to decorate their personal garden.
Gardening Books for Kids
There are many good books for kids to read to begin their gardening adventure. Here are some great book choices.
Get Kids Their Own Gardening Tools
Having the proper size tools makes planting and maintaining a garden easy and enjoyable for children.
A place of their own
Whether it be a section off a corner of the yard, a raised garden bed or an old sandbox or pool turned into a garden, kids will learn an important lesson in responsibility when they have a place of their own where they can choose what to place inside.
CHOOSING WHAT TO PLANT
Let them be a part of the planning process by involving them from the start. Using an old garden catalog, have them select pictures of plants they want to grow.
While it’s a convenient shortcut to buy starter plants for a child's garden, children will learn more by seeing the growing process as it begins, from seed. The care given to sprouting seeds and nurturing the young seedling are a valuable part of the gardening experience.
Plants with large seeds, such as beans, sunflowers, and nasturtiums, are easiest for small hands to sow. Though radish seeds are small, children delight in the almost instant growth and harvest.
Some other great seed choices are:
Edible flowers, such as nasturtiums, pansies, violets, and calendulas.
Other great additions to a child's own garden spot are birdhouses, feeders and birdbaths. A wooden birdhouse that they can paint themselves is a great idea!
So if you haven't already, begin to instill the love of gardening in your child today!