Why you should get kids in the garden
As we advance into a more technological age, the art of gardening is becoming more and more redundant. We notice that increasingly, people want ‘low maintenance’ instead. But having a flourishing garden with shrubs, flowers, fruit, and vegetables is one of the most rewarding things. Kids today spend more time indoors looking at screens then they do outside looking at nature.
Gardening is healthy and fun for children. Not only will it help with their understanding of how things grow; but they will learn responsibility, love of nature, proper nutrition, physical activity and knowledge of life. There’s also a great reward if the plants flourish as they will be able to physically see what hard work can earn.
Some simple ways to get your children interested in gardening include:
Giving them their own little garden space
Using specialised, lightweight equipment that children will take pride in using
Making it a fun project
Visiting public gardens for inspiration and ideas
Giving them the responsibility to take ownership
We will cover these areas in more detail below.
While gardening can almost seem like a “grownup” task, it doesn’t have to be. Children are more than capable of getting involved in:
Picking vegetables when they are ready to eat
Replanting and potting
Decorating pots with paint
Picking off dead bulbs
Therefore, there’s no time like the present to get the gardening gloves out, gather up the children and get outdoors. Here is how to get your children interested in gardening.
Their Own Garden Space
When you’ve been out gardening in the past, your children are sure to have, at some point, showed interest in what you’re doing. They might have enjoyed helping you to pick the fruits of your labour, or they may have even asked what you’re planting and whether they can help. Take this opportunity to offer your child their own piece of the garden to create and do with as they please.
Whether it’s a back corner you’re not using yourself or a small tub they can use to plant a few things, they are sure to jump at the opportunity. Children are very inventive, and when you give them the freedom to create something unique, they will often put a lot of time and effort into flexing their creative muscles.
However, it’s crucial to make sure this area you’re giving them is going to produce. Poor soil, drainage or a historically poor-performing part of your yard is not going to give your child a lot of confidence when plants fail to grow. Instead, make sure the soil is primed and ready to go – or help them to do that themselves – and offer a balanced mix of sun, shade, and moisture.
Lightweight Gardening Equipment
Standard gardening equipment for adults is typically not something children will find easy to use. Large garden forks can be cumbersome and heavy, while shovels are typically bottom-heavy and not easy for children to lift. To get your children enthused about their new piece of garden, take them on a shopping trip. Many garden shops sell gardening equipment specifically for children looking to discover their green fingers.
From gloves and gardening aprons through to small garden wagons, forks, and shovels – all manner of gardening tools are now available for the smaller members of our families. What’s more, they are often for sale in vibrant colour schemes to encourage creativity and fun. Gardening can be fun, and tools just for them is sure to promote that.
Fun Gardening Project
As previously mentioned, gardening can be a lot of fun, but you have to put time and effort into making it so. If you have more than one child who has begun to show an interest in gardening, have them both get to work on creating a sketch of their new patch. They can discuss their ideas for what to plant, how to plant them, and how to bring life to their own garden.
Not only does it become a fun project that lures them away from computer screens, but it also encourages them to learn about teamwork, sharing, and innovative ideas. From the initial sketch phase, it may also help to work with them to choose vegetables, fruit, and flowers they can grow. This is where your expertise should come in, as you don’t want them to plant something you know will not grow in our climate.
Inspiration and Ideas
If you don’t have green fingers and your children are new to the world of gardening, then use this inexperience as an opportunity to get out and about. Take the kids to public gardens, gardening events, and even the gardening store. Invite them to talk to shop attendants and learn all there is to know about their new chosen passion. Your children are not only learning valuable gardening skills for inspiration and ideas, but they are also learning to communicate with others as well.
Responsibility and Ownership
Many parents buy their children a pet to learn responsibility and ownership. The deal is generally that the child must feed it, take it for walks, and care for it. However, as many parents will have experienced, some children lose interest in doing those things fairly quickly, so the task of caring for the new pet falls into the hands of the parents.
Instead of investing in a dog or cat to achieve responsibility and ownership, invest in a new garden instead for the same results. Your child’s new job is not only to plant, water, and maintain the garden but to keep the plants alive too. They will take pride in this ownership, especially as the plants begin to grow, prosper, and are then ready for harvest. Then, you can look at the smiles on their faces as they eat freshly grown fruit and vegetables they produced all on their own.
You don’t have to have the greenest thumb to get your child interested in gardening. It’s all about ‘planting the seed’ (see what we did there) so that your children may grow their own healthy garden to share for future generations.