Gardening can be an excellent activity or hobby for children. It provides benefits such as, developing their love for nature, improving their physical and mental health, learning patience, and critical thinking skills. Getting outside and planting can also be a fun and educational way for kids to learn about plants and the environment.
Choose Kid-Friendly Plants
Choosing the right plants is essential to keeping children interested in gardening. It's essential to select plants that are easy to grow and care for, so your child doesn't get discouraged. Some kid-friendly plants that are easy to grow include sunflowers, cherry tomatoes, and snap peas. Also, giving them control over what seeds or plants to choose can also help to encourage gardening for kids.
Sunflowers are an excellent choice for children because they are easy to grow, and they can grow up to six feet tall, making them fun to watch as they grow. It'll be fun to take selfies next to a 6 foot tall sunflower when they are probably much shorter! You can also make a Sunflower Tent. This is a really cool way to have your sunflowers grow, and they get the satisfaction of helping to build it.
Cherry tomatoes are also easy to grow, can grow in small spaces, and produce delicious fruit that kids can eat straight from the vine if they so desire! Snap peas are another good option as they produce tasty and healthy snacks that kids can enjoy. Let them choose a few plants or seeds, it helps to get them more interested.
When selecting plants, it's also important to consider what will appeal to your child. For instance, if your child loves bright colors, consider planting flowers that have vibrant colors like marigolds, zinnias, or cosmos. If your child enjoys unique shapes, consider planting plants with unusual shapes like succulents or cacti. I have found that giving kids a choice always interests them and they get more fired up about the topic at hand.
Let them Help with Planning
Another way to get kids interested in gardening is to involve them in the garden planning process. Maybe schedule special trips to the store where they get to help you choose the plants and supplies needed for your garden adventure. You could invest in kid gloves and a few kid-sized garden tools. When children participate in planning, they feel more invested in the garden, and they are more likely to take an active role in its care.
Drawing pictures of the garden is another fun way to involve kids in planning. Parents can encourage their children to draw what they want the garden to look like and then use the drawings as a guide when planting. If your kids are older, get some graph paper and draw a layout of the plants and where each one should be placed in the garden. You can subscribe to free seed catalogs, there are plenty of options online. Then, let them cut pictures out of plants they like and containers or pots and make collages.
Gardening is an excellent opportunity for children to learn about nature, plants, and the environment. Parents or teachers can use gardening as an educational tool and incorporate learning into gardening activities.
One way to incorporate learning is by teaching children about plant life cycles. You can show your child how seeds grow into plants, and how plants produce fruit or flowers. You can also teach your child about the different parts of a plant, such as the stem, leaves, and roots, and how they function. The science teacher in me has to recommend the growing seeds in a Ziploc bag experiment. This lets them see the process of growing and it's just super-cool!
Another way to incorporate learning is by identifying different types of insects and their role in the garden. Children can learn about the beneficial insects that help pollinate the plants, such as bees and butterflies, and the pests that can harm the plants, such as aphids and caterpillars. Encourage daily trips to the garden and see what insects are flying around, or on your plants. Your child can keep a journal of their findings each day.
Start Small and Be Patient
It's important to start small when introducing children to gardening. A small garden is easier to manage, and it can help prevent overwhelming children or even you for that matter. Parents can start by creating a small container garden on a balcony or patio or dedicating a small area in the yard for gardening.
Moms and Dads should also be patient when teaching their children about gardening. Children learn at their own pace, and it's important to let them explore and make the mistakes so they learn that grit to keep going! Gardening with kids can be a pretty messy activity. You should be prepared for the children to get dirty.
Parents should also be prepared to take over some of the gardening tasks if their children lose interest or become too busy. Parents can use gardening as an opportunity to spend time with their children. Being outside in the garden can teach them about responsibility, perseverance, and patience.
Getting out in the garden can be a fun and an exceptionally educational activity for children. By making gardening fun, choosing kid-friendly plants, involving kids in planning, incorporating learning, and starting small, parents can encourage their children to develop a love for nature and the environment around them. Being outside in the garden can also provide an opportunity for parents and children to spend some quality time together and create lasting memories. If you have other questions, hit me up on my Facebook Group, Beginner Gardeners Start Here.
Children can also take my Gardening Quiz For Kids, and learn more!