There is no better feeling than to watch your plants grow and produce food for you and your family. It is such an accomplished feeling. This way of life and feeling should be passed down from generation to generation! Getting your kids involved in gardening is so easy and simply and what kid doesn't want to hang out with their parents!! I don't know about you but my kids wants to be attached to my hip all day, every day.
Teaching kids to garden is as important as teaching them how to swim! It gives them time to be active and experience nature. It can also be a great tool to teach valuable life lessons. Children who garden develop a bit a self sufficiency, a knowledge about where their food comes from, and patience. They also learn science. They can measure how far apart to plant seeds, learn about the life cycle of plants, find out about how bacteria decomposes compost material, and so much more.
10 Ways To Get Kids Involved In Gardening
1) Get them their own supplies - Nothing is more exciting than getting some new "toys" to "play" with in the garden. Their own pair of gloves, shovel, watering can, etc.
2) Let them make the holes and plant the seeds. -On the backs of the seed packet, it will tell you exactly the depth and spacing you should plant them. My daughter loves to make the holes. Although, she usually makes them to deep; just brush a little dirt back into the hole before she puts the seeds in. This is also great for developing their fine motor skills.
3) Allow them to water the plants daily - (the same time everyday) Kids love water, whether it's puddles, splash pads, pools, lakes, ponds or sprinklers, most kids will be thrilled to grab the hose and water the plants.
4) Let them help build the garden beds and/or prepare the beds by adding new soil, mulch, etc. - They will love to get the measuring tape out and build along side you, helping in anyway they can. Getting them involved in the whole process will only enhance their love for gardening. If you already have beds, then let the kids help add new soil. Spreading it out and turning it into existing soil.
5) Let the kids transplant the plants into their new homes in the garden. - They will be so excited to plant the established plant into the garden soil. Teaching them to be gently and to pack the soil around the plants. Be sure to water after you've transplanted so the soil settles around the plant.
6) Take them into the garden to pick a snack. (My kids favorite part) Cherry tomatoes are a perfect easy garden snack that kids love. Nothing beats homegrown tomatoes!! Being able to reap the benefits of all their hard work will be a positive reinforcement.
7) Make garden maintenance a social activity
Once the seeds are planted and begin to sprout and grow taller, don’t let the work of maintaining the garden space become drudgery. Working side-by-side with your kids will show them you love doing it too and give them even more of a reason to do the "work", because they get to hang out with mommy/daddy one on one.
Offer a special treat after working in the garden, this could be a fresh snack right from the garden if it's harvesting time. If it's not, offer something you know your child will like. Incentives like these help kids associate their gardening time with positive and happy memories.
But it is a huge part of gardening and if you don't weed every 10-14 days your plants won't be getting as much nutrients as it could and needs.
8) Harvest day!! Let them harvest the crops alongside you. - This is usually everyone's favorite part. You start seeds months before gardening season, you care for your plants daily, you watch them grow and now they provide food for your family. Grab a basket, harvest your ready vegetables, rinse them and enjoy!
9) Let them get dirty!! This will make it more likely they will want to help next time, knowing that they are free to get dirty and have fun. Don't make it a chore. Know that children are going to get way dirtier than necessary in the garden. If you’re worried about it you may want to set a few pairs of clothing aside just for “garden days.”
10) Build a trellis fort - Create bean tepees and leave an opening as a door or set up tunnel trellises like those made from cattle panels. When the plants are mature the kid’s will have a shady little retreat. This is a great process to involve kid’s in too.