Gardening is a fun activity for children and adults alike. It is an easy way to beautify one’s home and in some cases provide useful plants (such as in the case of a herb garden) as it provides an activity the family can bond around. Of course, if children are going to be involved in gardening, the same ought to be done as safely as possible.
Planting a garden that is safe enough for children to participate in is in no way difficult. It just takes a little extra consideration beforehand. We explore some of the options for a children-friendly garden below.
3 Things To Consider When Building A Child-Friendly Garden
1. The age of the children
Children by nature, love to help their parents for as long as their attention spans can stand it. They love group activities and enjoy feeling like they are usefully contributing to an activity or task. As such, getting them to enjoy gardening will likely not be too difficult.
Of course, the level of help children may be able to offer in gardening will likely depend on their age. Smaller children, for example, may end up being more harmful than helpful when compared to older siblings.
2. Garden security
Again, depending on the age of your children (particularly if they are younger), it may be necessary to have the garden enclosed or fenced in. This way, whenever the family is not actively participating in gardening, the garden can be kept safe from being trampled by either younger children or even small animals like puppies or small-breed dogs if you have them.
Another option regarding having a secure garden is to opt for raised container garden beds.
3. The attention span of children
Very young children are not the only ones who may have difficulty focusing on a task for an extended period of time. Even older children can grow weary in well-doing.
As such, it may help to break up gardening tasks into smaller, more manageable portions and perhaps inject some games and fun into the planting and designing of the garden. This way children are less likely to become bored with having to work hard and diligently for extended periods of time.
4. Preparation of the garden
The garden must be properly prepared before one can begin buying plants. Preparation includes digging and turning the garden patch, as well as, laying out the patch with string, rocks, and sticks. Children can help with the preparations.
Once the garden patch is properly prepared, you can then begin the process of deciding which plants to add to your garden. A good idea will be to assign certain plants or parts of the garden patch to the children in the family so they can each have their own. The children can also decide which plants or part of the garden patch they wish to take care of as the season changes.
5. The kinds of plants to plant in the garden
Once the garden and soil are prepared, the entire family (including the children) can visit the local garden center to find the best-suited plants for the garden. Of course, any old plant will simply not do for a child-friendly garden.
The kinds of plants that you choose should be safe. Poisonous plants and ones with thorns should be avoided as these can be particularly harmful to children. This is mainly because children are far more unlikely to be as careful as they need to be. A good plant option for children-friendly gardens will be fruit plants and vegetables. This allows children to safely tend to, and eat from, the plants in the garden.
6. The Final Stretch – planting the garden
After choosing the plant you would like, the planting process can begin. Planting is the most fun part for children and adults alike. Using the markers outlined during the preparation phase, the children will know exactly where to plant which plant. When the plants are planted, remember to use mulch in between them. Mulch will help the soil hold moisture. It will also help keep the bottom of your shoes cleaner.