Gardening With Children?
When it comes to gardening with kids, it is so easy to let the children get carried away with deciding which plants, trees, and shrubs to plant in the garden. We tend to get focused on how wonderful the greenery will look and how those brilliant blooms will brighten our yards. But in order to give the kids a chance to achieve the most lush look possible, when gardening with kids, it’s vitally important to do the dirty work – having the children prepare the garden soil.
Photo by @kellysikkema on Unsplash
Gardening With Kids: Getting Ready
To achieve the best results possible, don’t take Junior to a nursery until your soil is ready. Otherwise your plants will spend too much time in the suffocating plastic packets at home as you get your soil ready for planting, and lets face it, the best part of gardening with kids is planting the plants!
You may also wish to consider container gardening with your kids. If your children are starting fresh with a new garden area, the first thing you should do is remove any large debris – rocks, branches, sticks. Then let the kids lay out the shape of your garden using string.
Gardening With Kids: Getting Ready
Then you’ll need to consider the quality of your existing soil, including the pH level; which fertilizers your garden will need, and what additives and organic matter will work best to give you a robust, vibrant garden to enjoy gardening with kids.
It doesn’t have to all be about work, either, let the kids play with water with an concrete water feature or wall fountains, helping them learn how vital water is to natural systems. When gardening with kids, becoming familiar with your soil is key to the success of your garden. It will guide you in how to fertilize and water, and, ultimately, be the basis of a thriving garden. When Gardening with kids, teach them about the importance of quality soil and preparation.
Let Kids Help Around the House, Too
Kids can learn about important functions around the house, as well. Show them how smoke alarm batteries are checked.
Teach them about the recycling bin, and how it’s different than garbage.
Show them the importance of changing the furnace filters on a regular basis. Let him help when you change the air filters in the house.
Buy simple safe garden decor like wind chimes, and let the kids take ownership. From cleaning gutters to small chores around the house, keeping your kids involved will pay long term dividends!
Getting kids started: The Basics
Give Them Some Space
Give your child some space; literally! Kids loving having spaces that are all their own, whether it`s their own desk area in the house, or the tent they`ve created with chairs and blankets in the family room. The same is true for gardening. Dedicate a small plot of the garden just for them. Put a fancy border around it, perhaps purchase one of the stepping stone making kits found at crafts stores in which they can mold their name and make their handprint.
Let them join you at the nursery.
Let them join you at the nursery. Let your kids know you value their opinion. Ask them which kinds of plants, flowers, and vegetables they like. Explain what will work well in your garden and what won`t.
Give them (limited) choices
While you`re at the nursery, ask them if they`d like pansies or petunias, marigolds or zinnias. This will give them the feeling of power without letting it get out of control.
Teach Them About Money
Remind them money doesn`t grow on trees. With older children discuss the budget. Let them help select seeds and blossoming plants at the nursery – and turn it into a math lesson. Let your child do the money calculations; they can tell you when the money runs out.
Give Them Freedom
Let your child do what he will (especially if you have a preschooler). Let him or her dig, explore, play with bugs. You may be tempted to steer your child in another direction (like actually watering or weeding his garden), but this is a great way for your child to explore this exciting new universe.
Help Them Plan
Plan, plan, plan. If you have older children, say 8 or 9 or older, let them plot out their own garden on paper. Provide him or her with graph paper, pencils and seed catalogs. Give them a group of flowers and vegetables from which to choose, and then let them draw out their garden.
Get Them Tools
Get them their own gardening tools. Nothing will motivate your little gardener more than having her own little shovel, her own gardening gloves, and her own watering pail. And don`t forget those bright colored rubber boots.