GARDENING WITH CHILDREN
Gardening with kids is triple the pleasure. It may motivate your picky eaters to try new foods, it is great exercise in the outdoors and most importantly, it’s a great opportunity for family fun! See the list below for ways to get your garden started.
Simple ways to interest any child in gardening
- Place a potato or carrot top in water on a window sill and watch the leaves sprout
- Plant herbs in pots and place them on the window sill in full sun. Children will love the sensual nature of herbs as they appeal to sight, touch, taste and smell.
- Make themed garden like an Alphabet Garden by choosing one plant for each letter of the alphabet or one plant for each letter of the child’s name. Make a Rainbow Garden by choosing plants that represent all of the colors of the rainbow – red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple.
Gardening activities for children of different ages
Ages 3-5: Children at this age love to explore but their exploration must be accompanied since preschoolers should never be left unattended. Don’t expect to accomplish “gardening work” since children at this age are more about the experience than about the outcome. Be content to let children dig in loose dirt, move mulch, pull weeds and chase bugs. If a child wants to plant seeds from last night’s dinner, let that happen even if it’s not planting season.
Ages 6-7: This is a great age to call upon those emerging reading and math skills to add new depth to gardening fun. Encourage children to make plant markers, read seed packets, make seed choices from seed catalogs, and shop for nursery plants. This is a great age for children to participate in harvesting and preserving food, but for children this age, the process of doing is still more important than the end result.
Ages 8-9: Children can begin to take a more in-depth interest in gardening by participating in the planning and design of the garden. They can put math skills to work by designing a garden on graph paper, and translating that drawing to a real garden. Children this age can also use tools and might even build decorative garden items such as arbors, fences and scarecrows.