A Beginner’s Guide To Gardening With Kids
Just before we got married in 2008, we were offered an allotment. Shocked but excited we signed up and arrived to another blank canvas of a brand new allotment.
There was nothing except a muddy field and a few sheds. It was daunting, but now, after 3 children and a lot of ups and downs we have a flourishing allotment where we enjoy sowing, growing and spending time together.
You don’t even need to have an outdoor space to enjoy gardening with your little one, a great way to introduce your child to gardening is to plant up a window box with herbs that can be used in cooking. This way your child can watch their seeds grow and see how useful they can be.
If you do have a garden, why not give your child their own area to plant with whatever they like?Just make sure to pick a plot that gets plenty of sunshine, Let them choose what to grow and offer help but try not to interfere. Let them experiment however they wish. So what if nothing edible comes from their plot? they will flourish just by learning what they learn.
Here’s A Beginner’s Guide To
Gardening With Kids
An easy way to start with kids is to grow micro leaves from quick-sprouting seeds suck as beetroot, cress, mustard or spinach so that your little ones can see the results of their hard work quickly without much waiting around. You could also use sunflower, cress and salad seeds. Why not try making a cress caterpillar with some yogurt pots and cress.
Just fill the yogurt pots with damp kitchen paper and sprinkle on the seeds. Keep these damp but not water-logged as they grow. Once you have growing sprouts, make a line of pots and decorate the front one to look like a caterpillar face. Easy peasy.
To keep kids interested, It’s important to
Stimulate the senses
Don’t just plant your garden for pretty colours. Try planting to appeal to all your senses. The garden is a great way to stimulate your child’s senses of touch, sight, sound, taste and smell – soft flowers, rustling bushes and plants that have a strong smell and bright colours all help to give your child a fantastic gardening experience.
Use Child sized tools
Nothing will put your kids off quicker than letting them struggle with over sized tools. If your little one really loves getting out and about in the garden it can be helpful to buy a set of child-friendly mini-tools that they can hold easily. A little watering can, hand fork or a trowel can really help build your child’s sense of independence as well as their physical movement and fine motor skills. Check out 7 essential tools to get you gardening with kids for more ideas on useful equipment for gardening with kids.
Keep it Fun!!
Some kids LOVE gardening and let’s face it some Hate it. Little ones don’t have a huge attention span so be prepared to make gardening activities short and easy for younger kids.
There are plenty of ways to get kids excited about Gardening, although to begin with it can take patience. Nothing will happen over night but you can do some activities to fill in the waiting time for seeds to grow. Such as; digging for worms, making a compost heap, fill pots of soil with bedding plants from the garden centre. You can also involve them in watering the garden, picking daisies for a daisy chains, or floating some flowers in a bowl of water for the dinner table.
Try to have 4 or 5 short activities that you can change between each time your little one starts to lose interest. Have a look at some of these activities for ideas.A wheel barrow is great fun to be pushed about in and a small watering can will provide lots of fun either watering the plants or making puddles to stomp in.
- Make plant labels to mark where your plants or seeds are.
- Have a bug hunt and look at how bugs and bees help us by pollinating the plants we grow.
- Make a compost heap together and talk about the compost process.
- Ask them lots of questions and do your best to answer theirs.
- Watch a bean sprout and grow by planting it in a glass jar with some wet kitchen paper. Watch it sprout and grow roots.
Ready to get to it??
Try not to get too hung up on getting dirty with your kids. I try to make sure I have shower suits for them to wear so they stay clean, or you could set aside some old clothes as your little one’s ‘gardening clothes’. Working in the soil is messy and children love it, so try not to worry about it.
Safety First!! Don’t forget sun cream and sun hats. Even on days that aren’t particularly sunny little ones still need skin protection – especially in the middle of the day.
Remember to take photos or draw pictures in your nature/gardening journals of what you grow with your little one. Perhaps take pictures at each different stage so you child can look at the photos from seed to plate or vase. Something like a sunflower or a pumpkin works really well to show your little one how amazing the process of gardening can be. Why not try these sunflower seeds. They’re Huge!!
To help you Garden with your kids I have designed a FREE Ebook for you to download. It explains a bit more about seed sowing and different activities to try with your little one. Try a few things in there and let me know how you get on. You could send some pictures to the Facebook page or just drop a comment. Let me know what you think! Enjoy!