Making Gardening a Family Affair
If you clicked on this article, you already know that gardening is fun and rewarding. Share the experience with your family! In addition to being enjoyable and productive, gardening is a great way to spend quality time with your kids and it’s an activity for children of all ages. Pull them away from the TV and their computers and get them outside!
Three Generations of Gardening Tips, from Our Family to Yours:
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 everyone to participate at their own pace and within their attention spans and age ranges.
Dig it! Kids love to dig.
This is a great way to teach the basics while letting them play and just have fun. Don’t worry if the dirt ends up everywhere.
Let them play an active role in planning and choosing.
Take your children to the local nursery and let them pick seeds or transplants for their garden.
Grow a vegetable garden.
It’s incredible how few kids know where food comes from and they’ll be amazed that they can grow their own food. Radishes sprout fast and can be harvested in just a couple weeks. Ruffled lettuces in reds and speckles are speedy and fun. Beans become much more appealing when you grow them yourself. Kids loves to pick and eat warm cherry tomatoes right off the vine. Round mini carrots reach a harvestable size well before conventional long varieties. Focus on using organic and natural pesticides or fungicides for everyone’s safety.
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.
Grow a theme garden.
This is a great way to let your kids use their imagination and express their creativity. The sky’s the limit. Some fun themes include: alphabet gardens, favorite-color gardens, sensory gardens that offer a wide range of smells, tastes, textures and sights, or a “Freedom Garden”.
Give children their own tools.
Tools 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 center and purchase garden tools made for children’s hands. Kids will have the same amount of fun either way.
Give them a space to call their own.
It doesn’t have to be big. This will teach kids ownership and responsibility and your children will be able to take credit for their own little space.
Press or dry flowers to make a beautiful arrangement, make potpourri 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.
Have a contest.
Kids love to be rewarded. (Don’t we all?) Be sure to give each child a reward; the biggest tomato, the plant with the most flowers or the tallest sunflower. (A little Spray-N-Grow will help!)
Remember the goal is fun, not perfection.
Pick a few of these tips that you know are best for your family and have fun with them. After all, the goal is to have a good time outside. And with a it-doesn’t-have-to-be-perfect approach, gardening is something the whole family can enjoy.