by Maia C
Gardening with Your Kids
How to make gardening a family affair
Let’s face it, if you are reading this article, you already know that gardening is fun and rewarding. Chances are, sometime in your life, someone who loved gardening showed you the ropes. Why not continue the tradition and help your family experience the joys of gardening? In addition to being fun and rewarding, gardening is a great way to spend “quality time” with your family, and it is a wholesome activity that children of all ages can enjoy.
- Show them how much you enjoy gardening. Spend time in your garden. It is especially easy to stimulate a child’s interests when they see you having fun.
- Make gardening easy. Don’t expect a perfect garden. Allow your family to work at their own pace and within their attention spans and age range, especially children.
- Dig it! Kids love to dig. This is a great way to teach the basics while letting them play and just have fun.
- Let them play an active role in planning. Take your children to the local nursery and let them pick seeds or transplants to start their garden. Take your time and let them browse and enjoy all of the beautiful plants.
- Grow a theme garden. This is a great way to let your children use their imagination and express their creativity. The sky is the limit. Some great ideas are gardens that coincide with the holidays, alphabet gardens, a garden themed in their favourite colors, a sensory garden where you can experience different smells, tastes, textures and sights, or a “Freedom Garden”.
- Give children their own “kid sized” tools. They don’t have to be expensive. You can go with an old spoon and a bucket that you have around the house or you can venture down to the garden centre and purchase garden tools made for children’s hands.
- Give them a space to call their own. It doesn’t have to be big. This will teach them ownership and responsibility, and your children will be able to take credit for their own little space.
- Get crafty! Press or dry flowers to make a beautiful arrangement, make pot-pourri, or make a pomander ball. Children love making things and will be amazed at the crafts and gifts that they can make from the garden.
- Grow a vegetable garden. Your children will be amazed that they can grow their own food. Be sure and use organic pesticides or fungicides that are non-toxic.
- Use gardening to brush up your children’s math and science skills. Let them count the seeds they are planting, or teach them how plants are living things. Not only will you capture their attention, you will be polishing their skills as you go.
- Have a contest. Kids love to be rewarded. Be sure to give each child a reward; the biggest tomato, the prettiest flower, or perhaps the best tasting herbs (a little Spray-N-Grow will help!)
- Don’t try to do it all! Pick a few of these tips that you know are best for your family and have fun with them. After all, gardening is meant to be fun and easy and, with a little help, something the whole family can enjoy!