One of the best ways of introducing kids to nature is to let them have a little spot to grow their own garden. Naturally they love to explore their world, allowing them to play in the dirt, dig for worms or spot a lizard is very rewarding in their quest of discovery.
Tips for Gardening with Kids
- Provide them with their own kid-size tools
- Give them a designated area of the garden to grow their own food
- Let them plant fast growing starter seeds such as carrots or radishes
- Allow kids to mix up vegetables and flowers in their space
Every child should have mud pies, grasshoppers, water bugs, tadpoles, frogs, mud turtles, elderberries, wild strawberries, acorns, chestnuts, trees to climb. Brooks to wade, water lilies, woodchucks, bats, bees, butterflies, various animals to pet, hayfields, pine-cones, rocks to roll, sand, snakes, huckleberries and hornets; and any child who has been deprived of these has been deprived of the best part of education.Luther Burbank
I learned early on that kids want their own tools. So, if you are going to plant with them make sure you have tools for yourself and a small shovel for them.
Giving them a choice of several different seeds to plant let’s them feel they have control over their new garden and makes them feel ownership in the experience.
Designating an area of your garden just for them gives them an incredible sense of pride. Our kids check every few days to see whose plant has bloomed or produced some type of food. They want to be the first to taste something they’ve grown with their two little hands. So as a side benefit, gardening encourages them to try new vegetables.
Seeds are a wonderful way to show them the process of growth and where are food comes from, so they play an important part in your child’s early gardening experiences.
Very young children are not known for their patience, so purchase seeds that grow quickly. Sunflowers and radishes are really great choices because you will see growth within a week period of time.
Sunflowers are the kids favorite seeds to plant, they grow quick and reach heights of 6-10 feet with a huge sunny flower.
Make gardening fun, by allowing the kids to dig the holes for the seeds and plop them in by themselves.
Sometimes adults have the tendency to “just do it for them” so it is done right. This doesn’t lead to an enjoyable gardening experience for the kids.
Let them plant enough seeds to make up for the inevitable ones that were planted too deep or too shallow and won’t grow.
Starter Plants For Gardening with Kids
While it’s true that kids will learn more about the gardening process if you begin with seeds, planting a starter flower engages very young children in the gardening process with instantaneous results.
Sometimes this may be the best approach with very little kids. Inexpensive annuals such as pansies or marigolds that are already in full flower are a perfect start to their garden. They will have the “fun” of planting something and will be happy with their beautiful creation.
Comparing Starter Plants and Seeds
For a fun experiment you can plant seeds and starter plants in a row and watch how that same plant will germinate from seed to a mature plant.
Kids have fun comparing the same two plants at different stages in growth and it provides you will a longer yielding season.
Another fun experiment is growing a plant by seed outside and growing one of the same plant inside to see which one sprouts first.
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