You may be an avid gardener and would love to introduce your children the joys of gardening. Gardening can teach children valuable skills like patience, discipline and persistence. As they see the plants grow and blossom, children will be able learn the basics of manual labor and basic skills. Children can also help to grow cherry tomatoes and kale, which is a plus.
Keep the Age of the Child in mind
Keep in mind the age of your child when introducing gardening to children. Children expect fast results and are impatient so encourage them to plant tomatoes and sunflowers. Sunflowers are easy to handle for children as they have large seeds.
Giving your children individual plots is a great way to encourage them to get involved in gardening. Giving your children a plot to own will encourage a sense of ownership and help them remember to water and weed their garden. The child’s age should determine the size of the plot. Young children could be given a container garden to water. Place the plot of your child in a sunny area that is close to water sources. You can help the child by watering, weeding or removing bugs depending on their age.
Gradually involve them in all aspects of gardening activities
Although very young children may only be interested in certain aspects of gardening, such as watering and planting seeds, you can slowly involve them in all aspects of gardening. You can teach your child how to harvest, weed, remove insects, and compost organic material. As your child gets older, you might ask them to help with the harvesting, fertilizing, pruning and mulching. You can increase the size of your child’s garden and allow them to choose the plants they want each year.
You must take safety precautions when you introduce gardening to your children. For better monitoring, ensure that your child’s plot is visible from their home and close to their house. Even very young children need to be able to use proper gardening tools. However, they should not be too small. Children should be supervised when using certain garden tools and implements.
You must also ensure that your children aren’t exposed to pesticides and chemical fertilizers. It is best to keep your whole garden organic. If this is impossible, make sure pesticides are out of reach of children. Also explain to them that some products should not be used.
Planning Garden Beds
Garden beds for children should not be too wide. This will allow children to reach the middle of the bed easily. The garden beds should not exceed four feet in length. You should also leave enough space between the garden beds to allow children to move easily. Children who are very young may not have the same attention to detail or coordination as adults. You should leave about two feet between the beds so that they don’t trample on the plants.
Use the garden as a teaching tool
The garden should be fun and used to teach children. You can do this by letting your children get muddy as they explore the garden. Your children should be exposed to not only the plants, but also the small animals and birds that live in it. A bird feeder or bird bath can add interest and color to your garden. As you teach your children the names of the plants, help them identify the birds and insects that live in their garden.
Flexibility is key
Flexibility is key to ensuring that your children love gardening and spend time outside. Allow your children to choose the plants they would like to grow and to make mistakes. Children learn by making mistakes. It’s no different from adults. Young children will often pull up the plants, toss the seedlings and overwater the garden beds. Although this may result in a less-than-perfect garden, it is likely that your children will enjoy the process and take pride at their work. Children should be watched to make sure they don’t injure their bodies when working with garden tools. However, children should be allowed to try new things and learn from mistakes to help them appreciate gardening and other lessons. They can also enjoy the fruits of their labor.