Wish you could get your kids away from their screens and get more fresh air? to eat healthier foods? Well it can be as simple as getting them out into the garden.
First let’s look at why it’s a good idea.
Why should you garden with your kids?
- Gardening and growing vegetables encourages kids to be apart of the process from seed to plate. When they feel that kind of ownership over their food, they are more willing to try it.
- Children learn so much about lifecycles, wildlife, insects, the weather and other wonders of the world around them while playing in a garden. They also develope a love of learning and nature and doing so at such a young age will encourage them to learn more as they get older and continue to spread their wings further and further as they grow. When you invest your time in something you want to care for it.
- Gardening also encourages them to love nature and want to care for the world around them so get them started young and it becomes a way of life for them.
- Gardening isn’t always easy. There’s lots of walking around, bending up and down, digging, and all sorts of other movements involved. It’s a wonderful way to get exercise and teach good habits while they are young, so they become second nature.
- It’s good for their health to spend time outdoors. It has been proven to have so many benefits. In fact, research has shown positive impacts on ADHD, depression and stress. And while it’s important to be careful outdoors in the sun, it’s a good excuse to get some healthy vitamin D.
How does gardening help your child’s development?
Gardening with your kids provides them with skills to help them reach their full potential.
• Physical development– Gardening is good exercise. Kids get a good range of exercise without realising it.
• Menltal development– fresh air, healthy food and extra dash of vitamin D is all good for your kids. As well as, self confidence, pride in their achievements and a sense of worth.
• Social development– spending time with family, growing together can mean the world to both sides. It’s so important to find ways to get children away from screens and build solid people skills and bonding.
How to teach your kids to grow their own food?
Firstly, don’t panic!
You don’t have to be a seasoned gardener with a huge plot of land to garden with your kids and grow vegetables on.
Simply start with a small pot or raised bed and grow a few salad leaves, peas or crunchy radish.
As your confidence grows you can add more plants, add another pot or dig over a bigger area to grow vegetables in.
Slowly but surely you will build up a wealth of experience, and confidence which will also inspire your kids.
You can even grow some vegetables in with your flower garden, rainbow chard, red kale, purple podded beans or even some lettuces are pretty enough to be a part of any flower garden.
Tips for Teaching Your Kids How to Garden
- Start small. You don’t need a large garden to teach your child about gardening just a simple pot will do to start with. Small space gardening is explained more here.
- Choose high-interest plants like these unique vegetables, weird colours or unusual shapes are good for attracting kids. This post on unique vegetables to grow will help you get started.
- Use the right tools. This post will show you where to start.
- Try to show kids the journey from seed to plate and how to enjoy eating them too. Try not to insist, its meant to be fun.
- Visit a farm or farmers market together to see what grows and what vegetables to try next.
Many vegetables will happily grow on pots or a raised bed on the patio, or you can even regrow some kitchen scraps on the windowsill for a fresh harvest.
Here are some ways to get kids interested in gardening.
- Let them get into the garden and help you dig, water or plant right alongside you.-Photo of digging.
- Build a willow wigwam, bamboo tee pee or small tent for them to play in. -Tee pee pic
- Emphasize how fun it is to work in the garden and give them the opportunity to have fun and be creative by themselves.
- Hold snail hunts, scavenger hunts, planting races and weeding competitions, all add fun to the garden.
- Start them enjoying the outdoors when they are young. I hear a lot of people say their kids are too young to start in the garden, this simply isn’t true.
- Start from Seed. Letting kids grow their own plants from seeds helps them learn so much and build a connection with the plants –
- Sunflowers: Your kids will be wowed by how quickly they catch up to them in height.
- Give Them Space. Giving kids their own pot or area to garden in gives them so many opportunities to play and learn. They can make mud pies, dig holes grow flowers and food what ever they decide to do. Children need to have a sense of ownership to really get into a space. Let them make mistakes and make a mess its all fun and full of learning possibilties.
- Save Seeds. Teach children the full circle of life seed to plate, save seeds to start again this year
- Feed the hungry birds. Children love animals and they love to watch their garden birds eat the food they’ve given them.
- Make A Pizza Garden, Create a pizza garden of peppers, chillies, tomatoes, oregano, basil, rocket and red spring onions. Kids love to make their own pizza especially with ingredients theyve grown.
- Go Beyond The Backyard. Why not try making seed bombs with your kids. Check this post out for instructions.
- Build A Kids Area , put their little tools, chairs, mud kitchen and toys in here and add somewhere they can dog and plant.
- Mud kitchen. These have become all the rage recently, its essentially an outdoor garden kitchen. Ours is used for mud, water, seed sowing, and kitchen fun sobits been well worth the money.
- Make a themed garden. Alice in Wonderland, dinoland or a fairy glen. Have fun with plants and use small toys to add details.
- Create a wildlife area, or an area for relaxing for picnics etc
It doesn’t matter how small you kids are they can enjoy the outdoors and making it a habit when their small means it will be second nature as they grow.
If your children are babies they can enjoy the sensory effects in the garden by laying on a mat near the grass so they can feel the grass tickle their feet and hands.
Let them pay with edible leaves and flowers as they grow. (With supervision) They will be able to smell taste and feel the world around them as well as hear the birds sing and feel the wind and sun on their face.
As your little ones grow you can give them a washed leaf to munch on, a mange tout bean to chew on and eventually give them their own mini spade or spoon to play in some sand or dry soil.
Make the garden more children friendly.
Use kid friendly bits to make the garden feel more like a child’s space.
• Use colourful fruit shoot bottles on the tops of bamboo canes so kids don’t like their eyes out.
• Paint rocks fun colours and line paths with them.
• Use bunting on fences,
• A wind sock or windmill, adds some fun movement.
• Wind chimes will add some sound to the air.
• Try to give them a patch or pot just for them to do whatever they want with. Let them choose seeds if they want to plant their own patch.
Try some easy garden crafts to make your garden more child friendly.
No idea where to start a garden for kids?
Gardening can be daunting but it doesn’t have to be have a look at these posts to get you started, just start small.
What can I plant with kids in their vegetable garden?
- Peas- most kids love to munch on freshly podded peas.
- Lettuce and salad leaves
- Sunflowers- every year we have a fun competition with all the kids on who can grow the tallest sunflower. We all so them together in our own pots but then each looks after their own (with a bit of extra watering from me) the winner gets to draw faces on them.
- Strawberries are super easy and will grow anywhere that has lots of sun. Find out how here.
- Radishes are super quick to grow and can be an unusual flavour for most kids with its peppery taste.
- Cherry Tomatoes can be grown on long stems but are even easier if you get a bush variety such as tumbling tom.
- Nasturtiums are a great plant to have, they cover the ground, attract lots of pollinators and are edible!
- Carrots. Sow them, cover them and forget them until harvest time. But what child isn’t going to love chomping on their own home-grown carrot? Find out how to grow them here.
So there you are, lots of reasons why we should all get our kids outdoors and enjoy gardening. We all know there isn’t enough time in the day but even getting out for 5 minutes each day can start a love of being outdoors and drive a hunger to grow nutrient rich organic food for all your family.
What more could we want for our kids??