As an adult, your approach to gardening was likely influenced by your parent's attitudes. For some people, early memories of exhausting, hot hours weeding and planting make growing their own garden seem like unenjoyable hard work. For others, the pleasure of picking ripe vegetables with parents or grandparents, and having the free rein to explore and dig at their leisure makes gardening a fun, enjoyable pastime.
As a parent, grandparent, or favorite aunt, uncle or cousin, you can have a huge impact on the way the children in your life enjoy and approach gardening. With just a little gentle instruction, and the freedom to explore on their own, they're much more likely to enjoy the hobby long-term. Studies have confirmed that our attitudes we have toward nature and the garden as children, typically carry over into adulthood.
Today, we'll show you some great ways to introduce children to gardening.
Let Them Choose Their Favorite Plants
A great way to get your children excited about gardening is to get them involved in choosing what flowers, fruits, vegetables, or herbs they want to grow. Look through a seed catalog together, or walk through the garden center in early Spring and let them choose what they want to plant. If they're too young to understand, pick a selection of their favorite veggies and fruits, and use photos to get them excited about what's about to grow in their garden.
Include Plenty of Color
Kids are drawn to color, so make sure to include plenty of different colors of plants and flowers in your garden. This variety of color also helps with sensory stimulation, a necessary aspect of child development. If you have very young children, make sure to help them appreciate the different smells, textures, and sights in the garden by allowing them to smell and touch plants when appropriate.
Offer Tools That Fit Their Hands
Gardening is a great way to help children improve their fine motor skills, Digging, picking up tools (like trowels and rakes), and pinching small seeds are all critical motions that will help improve hand-eye coordination and other fine motor skills. To help make it easier for your kids, invest in a set of kid's gardening tools, like the ones in the grow with me gardening line. These smaller, easy to grasp tools are great for ages three and up.
Start children off with plants and seeds that are larger and easier to grasp, like peas or beans, rather than tiny carrot or radish seeds. You can also use your hands to gently guide your children through picking up seeds, digging holes, patting down soil, and watering.
Give Them Free Rein Over Their Own Space
If you want to give your children the freedom to explore on their own, but don't want to risk them trampling your carefully tended garden, give them their own garden plot. They'll love the freedom to dig wherever they want and take ownership of the plants as they sprout and grow. This is a great way to teach kids responsibility. Together, come up with a watering and weeding schedule, and let them see how quickly their hard work pays off.
Make Pulling Weeds Fun
Weeds are just one of those unfortunate realities of gardening. After a few warm, sunny days, it can seem like they've completely taken over your new garden!
Get your kids to help with weeding by making it fun. Turn it into a contest to see who can pull more weeds in a set amount of time. You can also set prizes for the tallest weed pulled, the one with the most leaves, or just award the most prolific weed-puller.
Keep a Journal
Have your kids keep a journal of their daily or weekly gardening activities, as well as the progress that's being made in the garden. Be sure to take and add in photos as well. This will not only be a great way to keep track of progress, but will serve as a memory book for years to come. You can download gardening journal pages at various kids gardening websites, like growwithmegardening.com.
Keep Some Surprises
While it's fun for kids to have some expectations about what will eventually grow from the plants in their garden, sometimes a surprise is fun, too. A package of wildflower seeds is a great way to add a bit of mystery to the garden.
Get a patch of the garden ready, then scatter the seeds and leave them to grow. As the flowers bloom, you can use various apps or take photos to your local garden center to identify what you're growing.
It's never to early to get your kids interested in gardening. The grow with me gardening line up has tons of tools, garden gear, and garden activities for even the youngest plant enthusiasts. Visit growwithmegardening.com to learn more!
This post is provided for informational, educational purposes only. This information is intended to provide general guidelines. Because tools, products, materials, techniques, and local codes are constantly changing, Ray Padula Holdings assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of the information contained herein and disclaims any liability for the omissions, errors, or outcomes of any projects or tasks completed. It is the responsibility of the reader to ensure compliance with all local laws, rules, codes, and regulations for any projects completed. If there are any questions or doubts regarding any elements of any information provided, consult a local, licensed professional.