Outdoor activities that involve the whole family are fun ways to get active and make memories! One activity you should consider: starting a garden. But how do you get your kids involved with gardening? Here are some tips to help you encourage your kids.
Give Them Their Own Space
Nothing makes gardening come alive for kids quite like having their very own personal space that they are in charge of. This way, they can decorate it how they want to with the plants they want to (more on that later).
When creating their garden space, define it with a nice border so there’s no question about what area belongs to them. Help them prepare the soil initially, as that can be more difficult. Once the soil is in, let them dig and get dirty…that’s half the fun of outdoor activities!
Supply the Right Tools
To garden properly, your kids will need the right tools for the job. Help them get ready for their garden by getting them gardening tools designed for children. The more personal their supplies are, the better. Let them pick them out themselves or surprise them as a gift. Whatever helps them feel the excitement!
When picking out the tools, consider not only the practical side of the supplies but also the colors and designs that will appeal to them. Include a trowel, a hand rake, and a shovel. They will also need a watering can. For comfort and style, consider getting them an apron with pockets and gardening gloves. Don’t forget a cool hat and sunblock to keep them protected from the sun!
Let Them Choose
To help your kids get into gardening, let them choose what will be planted. When they get to choose, they will be more interested in helping the plant grow.
So they aren’t stuck, offer them several choices to pick from and help them research how to properly care for them. Some “easy grow” veggies we recommend include green beans, bell peppers, and pumpkins. If they do want to grow veggies, remind them that they’ll need to eat them when it’s time to harvest.
If you’re looking for some indoor plant ideas, consider herbs like rosemary, basil, and mint. Going to a plant nursery to choose flowers is also a great option.
Be Prepared for Some Losses
When planting seeds or plants with children, try and use at least twice as many as required. Sometimes things don’t go to plan and plants die, or seeds don’t germinate. By doubling the required number, you will reduce the chance of a complete flop, so the kids don’t lose interest.
And if garden plan A doesn’t work out, there are 25 other letters in the alphabet! You and your kids will likely have an experience that isn’t perfect, and that’s okay. Those things can be great lessons in looking at the big picture and how to create and move on to another plan.
Of course, gardening isn’t always about growing plants. Get creative with your outdoor activities and make some garden art with your kids.
Children will love to make a scarecrow, a birdhouse, or even paint their own rocks to use as labels in their garden. Another idea you could try is creating a fairy garden in between the plants to get your kids more interested. Let your kids be creative and decorate their own gardening plots to reflect their personalities.
Make Garden Maintenance Fun
Once the plants have sprouted and are growing big and tall, don’t let the maintenance work become boring. Offer to work side-by-side with your kids and sing, talk, and play together while you work. When the weather is hot, start a fun little water fight when watering the plants. Above all, never present it as a “chore” or expect the kids to work alone or in the heat of the day.
On especially hot days or days after you weed, offer a special treat after working in the garden, like a trip to the pool or out for ice cream. Incentives such as these help kids associate gardening time with positive memories.
Let Them Enjoy the Fruits of Their Labor
When it comes time to harvest, encourage the kids to create their own meals out of their vegetables. Stuffed bell peppers, roasted pumpkin seeds, and making pizzas topped with fresh basil are great ideas for them to enjoy the fruit of their labor. Sometimes kids who are more reluctant to eat certain veggies are excited to try them after watching them grow in their own garden.
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Keep things positive, and you will find that there are many advantages to gardening with your kids, such as learning new skills, getting fresh air, staying active, and making happy, fun memories!
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