Gardening with kids can be a fun, although sometimes frustrating experience. I have figured out a few things that make it more enjoyable for your and them. Whether you are container gardening on the porch, or square food gardening in the back yard you can make precious memories, and produce some delicious fruits, vegetables, or beautiful flowers with your little ones. Don’t forget to grab your camera along the way from start to finish to capture the process. From planting the first seed to harvesting and eating the first fruits of your labor, gardening can be a wonderful bonding experience for you both.
Bring it Down to Their Size
Little hands work best when they are able to work with tools that are made to fit. It can be frustrating trying to dig with a shovel or even a hand held spade that is too heavy or the handle is to big to wrap a hand around. Pick up a cute little gardening set including tools, a watering can, and work gloves that are made just for them, there are so many styles and colors available to spark their interest, and the prices are quire reasonable. Be sure to show them how to use each piece correctly, and how to care for them so they last season after season- by not leaving them out in the weather, and to clean them before putting away. Develop a sense of ownership and pride in their tools an work.
Give Them Space
If you are a container gardener designate several pots just for them. You might even consider letting them decorate the pots by painting them so they really feel that it is their area. One way to keep your garden plants being dug up by eager little helpers is to give them their own space to care for. Toddlers to Tweens will love having their own area to look over. Provide littler ones with an area large enough for just one or two items- 2′ x 2′ is a great starter size for toddlers or preschoolers. I personally love raised bed gardening, I find there are less weeds, its easier to maintain, and looks pretty and neater especially in a backyard that is not necessarily meant for agriculture. You can purchase kits with all the hardware or purchase the items at your local home improvement store and build it yourself in the size and shape that suits you and your child.
An easy upkeep raised garden bed kit.
Keep it Easy Growing
You don’t have to be a master gardener to teach your kids to care for simple fruits, vegetables, and flowers. To cut down on frustration be sure to plant things that are relatively simple to grow. It isn’t very rewarding for any of us to plant and care for something that will only produce one scraggly vine. A few minutes of research or at your local library can show you what grows well in your area, at what time of the year. Starting seeds indoors in starter trays or even paper cups is fun and allows your child to closely watch the development of tiny plants. Take a trip to your local garden store and help your child choose by showing them 5 or 6 from an easy growing selection and allowing them to pick, giving them some control over their little garden.
Keep it Fun!
If you have a toddler they are probably going to be unable to resist digging up what they planted. Which is most likely to prevent anything from growing well, and that is okay. This is a process and is giving them a beginning sense of what gardening is all about. Decorate their garden with cute homemade markers, pinwheels, and other decorative garden elements. Let them dig and fill pots, and water empty soil. It is all a learning experience for later on.
Remember a sun hat and sunscreen for you both!
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