Gardening is something my mom and I have always enjoyed doing together ever since I was a little girl. Gardening can provide great learning experience for young children and older children alike. I would love to share some tips on how to garden with kids.
1) Kids do the Planning: Encourage children to pick out plants and flowers for the upcoming project. Allow them to help in the planning, planting and up-keep of the garden.Letting them have an opinion allows them to invest in the project and develop a respect for nature as well.
2) Embrace teachable moments: When shopping for plants use this time with older children to educate them about different types of plants for example perennials versus annuals or shrubs versus trees. For younger children talk to them about tall plants versus short ones or the colors of the flowers, etc.
3) Talk Money and Budget: Shopping for plants with older children is also a great time to teach about budgeting projects. We set a budget and stuck to it. We found a great price on two different types of bushes. My son compared the two different types and decided to go with a variegated leaf instead of a plain leaf. (another great teachable moment)
4) Involve Young Children: Young children love to help garden too. Sometimes it’s hard to know what young children can do. I suggest giving them tasks that are fun and easy for them to succeed at. Watering plants is a part of gardening that is fun and is essential for plant growth. Encourage your little one to have as much independence as possible by giving them simple gardening tasks. Children as young as 18 months can help turn on the spigot, fill the watering can, and water plants.
5) Allow older children to be mentors for young children:Often when younger children see older siblings having fun doing things, like gardening, they want to participate too. It’s often a great learning experience for all children when you let them work together as a team.
6) Real tools are for kids too: Use REAL tools when gardening with children but always with direct adult supervision. Children can be taught how to appropriately use real gardening tools like spades, shovels, rakes and more.Don’t be afraid to let them use the real things, just supervise and teach them the appropriate use. Set limits and guidelines before using real tools so children know the consequences if they use the tools un-safely or inappropriately. If child a fails to follow the rules they will know the consequence ahead of time.
7)Make it Fun: Gardening can be hard work but it can also be therapeutic and so much fun. Help create a life-long love of gardening within your child by making the experience fun. Get down on your kids’ level and don’t be afraid to get dirty!!!