10 Tips for Gardening with Kids
Are you looking for activities for your family this summer? How about teaching your child how to grow their own vegetables?
Unsure of how to start? Here are some easy ways to take the plunge into gardening with your child.
1. Field Trip Time!
Pick a day where you and your child can go look at vegetables. Go to a gardening nursery or greenhouse. Veggies such as sugar snap peas, potatoes, and tomatoes are great for beginners to grow.
Let them enjoy the surroundings and choose what they want to grow.
2. Creating Your Child's Space.
Let your child have their own space for their garden. Give them child size gardening tools, gloves, and a watering can. Let them customize their own space with figures and signs. Example: “Sarah's Garden.”
3. Gardening Journals.
Give them a journal to chronicle their week. Let them draw pictures, or write stories on their garden. It can be fun to look back on these later on, and see how the garden grew over time.
4. Prepping Your Garden.
Have your child dig with their child size gardening tools and plant the vegetable. If they aren't up to it, let them watch and let them still feel involved.
Feeling committed to their creation will let them realize the responsibility of growing a vegetable.
5. Give Your Garden a Theme.
Tell your child to pick a theme for their garden. An example is an alphabet garden, with plants ranging from A to Z. Or maybe a pizza garden, with different types of herbs and veggies for a pizza recipe.
6. Plants Vs. Seeds.
If you plant too late in the year, go for plants instead of seeds. Make sure you know where the plant is coming from, and find non-gmo sources for your garden.
7. Tagging your garden.
Create custom garden tags that will show what the vegetables will look like when they are grown. Let your child familiarize themselves with the names of plants and vegetables.
8. Waiting Game.
Growing their veggie will take some time. Show them your vegetables, and increase their interest in growing future projects. Teach them patience will prevail and keep up watering their vegetable. Take photos and put them in the journal of the veggie's progress.
9. Picking Your Plants/Veggies.
Let your child wash and clean the veggie when it is ready to be picked. Help them cut the vegetable, and serve it with a meal. If it's a tomato, make a spaghetti or a salad with it. Create your own vegetable medley. Write in the journal of what you created, and keep logs of recipes and other vegetables you want to try in the future.
10. Process of Elimination.
Pick out other vegetables and plants you haven't tried. Maybe you want to do a plant this time. Keep it interesting, and provide rewards for your child's success. Teach them how to compost and mulch, and show them that gardening isn't just about veggies but the environment as well.
Reward them for growing a plant successfully, and if they fail their expectations give them positive feedback on how to improve.
The possibilities for gardening with your child are infinite. You may run out of time to do all the things you want. Set goals for the future, and let your child continue to tend to their garden. Keep up the journal, and see what worked and what didn't. Over time, your child's garden may just expand into a bigger garden that can provide years of memories.