All children are immensely curious little beings. Creating and maintaining a garden is a fantastic way to stimulate that creativity while receiving satisfaction from a job well done. Here are some great ways to get down in the dirt and garden with your child.
16 Get Equipped with a Tool Kit
You probably see tons of gardening tool sets made specifically for children. These tools are often made out of cheap plastic. For some kids, especially the younger ones, they are fine, but also consider getting some real tools for your child (particularly for older kids).
Your little one should, at the very least, have their own gardening gloves, watering can, shovel, and maybe even a little rake. They will take pride in owning their very own gardening set, and it will make them eager to get down and dirty!
15 Wheeling Around
Carting around all that soil and all those tools can get heavy! Get your child his own wheelbarrow, or even make your own. They will enjoy seeing how a wheelbarrow can be moved around on just one wheel.
14 Teach About Sun Versus Shade
Certain plants need more sun than others, while some flourish in the shade. Remember this as you choose which plants and flowers to grow. It can also be super fun for kids to make their own sundial. Show them how a sundial works, and how they used to be the only way to tell time before clocks were invented!
13 Make Your Own Child-Size Outdoor Kitchen
This is easier to do than you think, and a great thing to have next to your garden! There are many different ways to create your own outdoor kitchen, one way is to take some milk crates or sturdy boxes, place some plywood boards on top, use a plastic bin as a sink, hang up a blackboard (see below), and go to town!
Kids don't need fancy. Get some water toys, hang up their tools, and enjoy the hours of playtime they will get out of this creation. Don't think you have it in you to create this yourself? You can always buy a new or used play kitchen and make it your own outside toy (maybe drill some holes in certain spots so water doesn't collect).
12 Hang Up An Outside Blackboard
Outside chalkboards are fun. First, they leave that chalky mess outside, but more importantly, it can be a great addition to your garden (or your child's outdoor kitchen). From writing down the plants you are growing, monitoring their growth, drawing pictures of what they think the plant will look like, or just using it for doodles, nothing is off limits.
Buy some chalk in all kinds of colors and watch creativity bloom, both in the ground and on the board.
11 It All Starts From a Seed
How amazing is it that a plant or flower can grow from this little seed? Allow your child to handle the seed, examine it, maybe even look at it under a microscope. Teach them how to dig a deep enough hole and place the seed at the bottom. They will be eager to see what happens next. Now would be a great time to teach them about patience!
10 Bring in the Birds
Foster your child's love for nature by adding in a bird feeder or bird house to your garden. Hang up a bird feeder (you can even make one yourself!) and show your child how birds eat seeds, just like the seeds they are putting in the ground.
Watch all the different variations of birds that come into your garden space. Maybe if you're lucky they will even build a nest nearby, or in a bird house (get one that your child can paint and decorate!).
9 Keep Track of Your Plants
You probably don't want to forget what you planted, and where, especially if you're growing from seeds. Use this opportunity to have your child make their own signs for each plant. Show them what their plant will eventually look like- they can draw a picture of it and practice writing the word or the first letter, such as T for Tomato.
8 Grow Something They Can Eat!
Flowers may be pretty to look at, but vegetables are a true crowd pleaser. Your child will be amazed watching a plant grow and then vegetables start growing out of the plant... and that they can eat it too! As a parent, you will be impressed at how something so simple as gardening can leave your child full of interest and excitement, and not to mention raise their self-esteem.
7 Set Up for Success and Pick Easy Growers
So, what should children grow in their gardens? As for flowers, if you are starting from a seed have them choose what flowers they want to grow. Same thing if you are using a starter plant, your child can pick out which flower they like. As for the veggies, some are easier to grow than others.
You want (and hope) for at least a few to be successful so it is not a huge disappointment for everyone involved. The following are some top choices: cherry or regular tomatoes, green beans, radishes, snow peas, cucumbers, and bell peppers (which are so fun to watch grow as the flower turns into a pepper!).
6 Fuzzy Wuzzy and Colorful Are Big Hits!
Flowers are beautiful and the more colorful they are, the more they will appeal to children (and it can help teach them their colors, too!) Once your flowers have bloomed, there's nothing wrong with picking a few to give to your mommy (hint, hint) or make a fun, colorful necklace.
Some great choices for fun plants include lamb's ears (nice and soft to touch) or a butterfly bush (to bring in some of those pretty butterflies).
5 Plants Need Love and Care
Just as we have to take care of our pets, the same goes for our plants. Your child should already be equipped with their own watering can. Show them the proper way to water- gently with care (many children will want to dump out the can in one big splash!)
Talk to them about what they see. Is anything coming up? Because once they see that little seedling push its way out of the soil, they will be in awe!
4 A Nice Place to Sit
A garden can be a beautiful and relaxing space. Set up some chairs and a table (kid sizes too, of course) and sit back and enjoy the garden. Have a snack, read some books together, color, and just relax.
3 Fairy Gardens Are Always in Bloom
As your child anxiously awaits for something to happen in your garden, create a garden using dolls, animals, trucks, or whatever you have lying around that could be fun in some dirt.
Take a big pot, fill it with soil, add in some branches, pine cones, etc and let your child play around. Think of it as creativity playing in the dirt. They can make a fairy-land, zoo, dino-park, racetrack- whatever floats their boat.
2 Take in the Beauty of a Job Well Done!
Once the flowers have bloomed and the vegetables have started to grow- let your child show off all their hard work. They did an amazing job; growing plants from tiny seeds. Take some pictures to send to family and friends, invite over the neighbors, and eat some veggies!
1 Bottom Line- Have Fun
Try to see your garden through your child's eyes. Maybe it's a little messy, or it's filled with giant sunflowers, or perhaps your kid has decided to plant sticks all day long; it is all more than okay! The idea is to have your child exploring, learning, and enjoying nature, even if she'd rather hang out in the dirt with the worms than pick a flower.