If you stop to think about it, gardening might actually be the ideal activity for little ones. Most kids love to dig in dirt and splash in puddles, and are inherently curious about bugs, worms, butterflies, and bees. Taking advantage of this to get them involved in the garden has SO many benefits: they’ll be more connected to and aware of where their food comes from, they’ll learn important lessons about science, and conservation, and they’ll build a genuine and lifelong love of nature. Sure, you might end up doing a few extra loads of laundry, but that’s a small price to pay! A recent article from our friend Bernie Whetter, owner of The Green Spot Home & Garden in Brandon, got us thinking about kids and gardening, and now we’re sharing a few tips for getting your kids or grandkids interested in helping around the garden.
Make sure they have some ownership
Something Bernie mentioned in his article that we really appreciated was ensuring that children have a sense of ownership around the garden. They’ll be a lot more invested if they feel like the garden is theirs, too. Don’t dictate every part the experience; loosen up and let kids truly be involved. It will be more fun for you this way too, we promise!
When it’s time to start planning, do some research together and let your child choose several plants or vegetables that he or she wants to grow. You might even consider giving them their very own section of the garden to plant whatever they want. Talking about the different kinds of plants, touring through the seed store, and letting kids make choices, followed by involving them in the day-to-day gardening chores, will get them excited and keep them interested.
Embrace beneficial bugs
We’ll say it again – kids love bugs! Gardening just happens to be the perfect opportunity to indulge that attraction, while teaching them about the importance and usefulness of these tiny garden friends. Incorporate flowers and plants that attract bees with this pollinating bulb kit, and put a ladybug house or butterfly house in your garden. Your child will be out there constantly, peeking at the tiny residents.
Make it fun
Play is obviously a huge part of being a kid, and the way to get kids to stick with anything is to make it fun! We loved Bernie’s suggestion of having your child make hand-drawn signs for each plant variety in the garden, and that’s just one way to involve kids. Install a rain gauge so he or she will want to run out and check it after a downpour. Make a game out of regularly checking on the progress of your plants, and get excited when you see them grow and change. Pick up some kid-sized tools in bright colours and fun gardening gloves to make it easy and appealing to dig in the dirt and help you with your regular garden tasks. Pair watering the garden with running through the sprinkler or a fun water fight with the hose! The possibilities are endless – just think like a kid.
Not only will you have fun spending time with your little one outdoors, but the teachable moments it will create are so wonderful. Before you know it, your family will be enjoying fresh veggies right from your own garden – and that will be so much more exciting for little ones if they helped! Ready to start planning? Try these 6 edgy veggies to shake up your garden, and your dinner table.
Have fun, little sprouts!