Gardening is one of those activities where everyone can get in on the fun. In fact, it is a fun activity for children and adults alike. If you are growing a garden at home and would like to make it a family activity by getting your children in on the act, then keep reading. Below we have some stellar tips for gardening with children to get you started.
1. Make it a project
The first step toward successfully gardening with children is to make gardening a project. Whenever an activity is presented to children as a project, they are ore likely to look forward to all that is to come with enthusiasm and good anticipation. Once they know they have this project to work on, you can begin implementing the other steps.
2. Put first things first
Now that your children know they have a gardening project to work on, the next step is to gather everything you need starting with choosing an ideal location. Be sure to grow your garden in a location where maximum sunlight is available. Also, play close attention to the quality of the soil, ensuring that the soil is rich enough to support the growth of whatever plants and flowers you wish to plant. As a rule, the soil in your garden should be dug about six to ten inches and containers (like plastic or clay pots) can be a great alternative for those who have limited gardening space. If you use pots, ensure that they allow for adequate drainage.
3. Select plants that kids will love to grow
Generally, children love colors. As such, they are likely to enjoy growing a garden that is filled with colorful plants. Similarly, children also love strong smells and have very short attention spans or little patience. Bearing this in mind, select plants that are colorful, easily recognizable, and grow quickly. Great options include sunflower, pumpkin, lettuce, cherry tomatoes, bush beans, carrots, snow peas, and squash plants for example.
4. Teach them the rules
As with all things, gardening has rules that govern what works and what does not. It is important to convey these rules to the children who are participating in this gardening project. This way, children will know what is expected of them, as well as what they can expect from the process. Information to convey include:
– What the different tools are and how they can be used.
Gardening tools are important to successful gardening. Any tool you will use in your garden should be made known to the children. Also, there is usually children’s version of the gardening tools that can be used. Be sure to opt for plastic instead of metal tools in the interest of safety.
– The kinds of plants or flowers included in the garden.
Different plants and flowers require different kinds of treatment in order to grow and be fruitful. The plants and how they should be cared for should be made clear to children. For example, how often the plants should be watered should be made clear.
Gardening requires several steps and elements to come together in order to be successful. However, one of the great benefits of gardening with children is having extra hands to help with the different necessary activities. Delegating will make it clear which child will be responsible for which activities and when. For example, one child can water on Mondays and Tuesdays, and another on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Creating a duties chart is a good idea in this regard.
6. Pull it all together
Once you have everything you need for your children’s gardening project – tools, plants, responsibilities, and so forth – the next step is to simply get started. Pull all these tips for gardening with children together and get started right away.
Bonus: The Benefits of Gardening With Children
There are many benefits to working on gardening projects with children. For starters, it is a great way to bond with the children in your life and for them to bond with you and each other. This is as gardening together gives a shared purpose. Other benefits include:
– Cultivating discipline and responsibility
In addition to creating important bonds, another benefit of gardening with children include cultivating discipline and a sense of responsibility in the participating children as they have something that is their very own to care for. This is similar to children having pets to care for or having chores to do.
– Generating a sense of accomplishment
At the end of the gardening project when the garden is in full bloom, children who participated in growing the garden from start to finish will feel proud of what they have achieved. This will help set a good precedent for children going forward of what can happen when they are diligent and willing to see things through to the end.