Gardening is an enjoyable activity for adults but it’s often a bit of a mystery to the kids. While they may see grownups busily going about their business with a trowel in hand, or covered in soil when re-entering the home, what exactly is going on remains unclear to them. For parents, it’s a perfect teaching opportunity for their children. But how exactly do you as a parent tear them away from their mobile games and get them interested in gardening? Here are some ideas to get the kids involved in growing food and gardening for the first time.
Stoke a Kid’s Fascination with Living Things
The inquisitive nature of children is such that they love to learn new things. But that’s especially true when it’s about living, growing things. It grabs their attention and makes them sit up and take notice.
Growing plants that respond to being watered with some species expanding in size quickly is enough to interest some kids right away. If they can see that a plant has grown larger by measuring it a week before and today, they will be pleased. Just make sure they know to be gentle with the plants, as kids can sometimes be heavy handed.
Growing Their Own Food
While food may appear to be “made” at the supermarket or it magically appears out of the microwave or oven and conveniently lands on their plate, older kids know that’s not the case. The opportunity to take on some fun responsibility and grow vegetables of their own is a new thing. It’s one thing to be responsible for a city’s development in a computer game, but altogether something else to do it in real life.
Choose vegetables that are easier to grow and less prone to dying off. This will increase their likely success rate and avoid them giving up through disappointment.
Let Them Adjust Garden Watering Based on Rainfall
An excellent way to combine computer gadget knowledge with gardening that may provide some early fascination is through using a rain gauge. This can measure the rainfall levels to avoid overwatering the garden. Using a gauge like this, it’s possible to avoid saturating plants or vegetables, preventing healthy growth. They can check it each day, make notes, and decide what to do. Using a rain gauge, it’s possible to engage them on several levels while indirectly improving their results too. Read some reviews of the best ones at WeatherStationAdvisor.
A Garden Plot of Their Own
A garden plot with their name on it will be something new (have them create a little sign to do just that). Instead of contributing to mommy’s or daddy’s garden, they can take full ownership.
Starting with raking the soil, and adding some fertilizer under supervision, they can then move onto planting some seeds for their favorite vegetables. Then water them every so often.
They will need some supervision from time to time to avoid little disasters like overwatering the soil or choosing out-of-season vegetable seeds. Also, avoid those that won’t grow with the level of sunlight their plot will receive.
Create a Fairy Garden
Some children will enjoy creating a fairy garden, adding plants, and building it up to be a little personal paradise. The garden can include a mini fairy garden house, some wooden steppingstones, soil, and a few plants scattered about. For small children who are new to gardening, it can be a gentler introduction on a smaller scale that won’t scare them off. You can plan and manage the garden together if they’re not feeling confident at first. Soon after, their confidence and creativity will start to grow, and they can take over.
Use a Garden Planning App
When you have a child who is a dab hand on their smartphone or tablet, take advantage of that by getting them to install a garden planning app. There are plenty to choose from. It can help give their mind something to wrestle with until they come up with a workable design. You can then help them bring their design to fruition.
A word of warning here: Don’t have them bite off more than they can chew. Section off an area of the garden for them to work from and let them get creative there. That way, their learning curve isn’t going to make a mess of the entire backyard and garden area. Also, if they suddenly decide that they’ve gotten bored and walk off, putting everything back to how it was before won’t be a total nightmare.
It’s always better to engage and get kids involved in gardening where they are at, so they can feel like they’re making the decision themselves. Otherwise, they may assume it’s just another chore, and won’t want to do it. And then you’ve lost them possibly for good.