tips for kids gardening

 

1.  Give kids their own garden beds.  Whether you use a raised bed, container, or ground plots, be sure to give each child his or her own separate area.  Keep it small, very small for young kids.  Put their plots right in the middle of action, with the best soil and light.  Set them up for success.

2.  Reuse the old sandbox.  If your children have grown past the sandbox years, consider converting the old sandbox to a garden bed.  This gives the child continued "ownership" of a familiar space and encourages a sense of responsibility to the gardening project.

3.  Give them serious tools - like a garden set from grow with me.  Cheap plastic child's tools are worse than no tools at all, they break easily and frustrate the user.  It can be hard to locate good tools for kids, especially gloves that fit a small hand.  With some garden tools like The Garden Bag, The Tube-O-Tools, and Sunny The Watering can, children are ready to garden.

4.  Engage children throughout the entire growing process.  Children learn better when they understand the context of their activities.  They will learn that gardening can be fun, but far more than play, they are contributing to the life of their plants.

5.  Start from seeds.  While it's more convenient to purchase starter plants, children will learn more by seeing the growing process from start to finish as it begins with seeds.  The care given to sprouting seeds is an experience all in itself.

6.  Cheat a little.  Depending on the age of the child, you may need to help out a little "behind the scenes."  Not every garden task is pleasant, and the child may not be ready at all times for chores.  You may need to go out in the evening and pick a few weeds, a few critters off the vegetables, or be the one to run out and move the sprinkler.  They don't have to know about the help you offer - the child's ownership of their creation is the main thing.

7.  Show off their work.  When giving "garden tours" to friends be sure to point out the children's beds.  Take a photo of their harvest and send it to the grandparents and neighbors, or best of all, share it on the grow with me Facebook page!  The attention given to their work is the best motivator for children to stay involved with a project.