We’ve talked about why gardening is a great summertime activity for kids of any age, and while you may be convinced, your kids may need a bit more encouragement.
There are a few things you can do to rouse the gardening bug in your kids. Here are some of our tips:
Start On The Right Foot
Choosing a nice sunny spot and using the right dirt is the easiest way to start things off right. Luckily, setting up your garden up the right way is easy in a Minigarden – simply pick a sunny place, grab a bag or two of good-quality potting soil, and away you go! You don’t even need a yard.
Choosing appropriate plants for your kids and your local climate is another easy way to make sure you’re starting off on the right foot. Low maintenance plants that don’t have any special requirements are usually a good place to start when gardening with kids.
Plant Interesting Plants
Edible or flowering plants are a little more exciting than ferns or ornamental grasses. In addition to giving your kids a reason to tend their plants, tangible results like an tasty treat or a pretty blossom can deepen your kids’ sense of accomplishment while also acting as positive reinforcement when your kids do a good job.
Strawberries are a great plant to grow with kids – they look lovely, and they taste even better (plus, they’re super easy to grow in a Minigarden). Because of their sensory nature, flowering plants are also an excellent option.
Check out this list of 11 plants any kid can grow.
Keep Your Kids Involved in the Whole Process
Giving your kids one or two tasks in the garden can make gardening seem like a chore, but involving them throughout the entire process shows them that their input is valid and valued. Bring your kids to the nursery to help you choose plants and seeds, have them help set up your Minigarden, and keep them involved right through the season by having them harvest their produce or even prepare a delicious meal using their homegrown veggies.
Give Your Kids Their Own Plot
Your kids will be more likely to properly care for something that actually belongs to them. The trick is to start small – don’t give your kids (especially young ones) a huge plot to maintain. Try giving them two or three modules and planting a different plant in each one.
Relax Your Standards and Take a Step Back
If you see your kids making a mistake, let them! Offer constructive advice when necessary, but constantly hovering and correcting your children (even though you may know better), is a quick way to squash their spirit. Instead, try offering advice only when they ask for it. After all, gardening is a pretty low-risk enterprise, and sometimes making a mistake is the best way to learn a lesson.
No matter what their age, resist the urge to care for plants that are in your kids’ plots or modules. However, if your kids are very young (say, younger than five or six), a little backseat gardening is okay.
Your three-year-old probably won’t have much luck planting, growing, and harvesting strawberries all on their own, but a teenager might! Giving your kids age-appropriate tasks or choosing age-appropriate plants is an easy way to keep them interested in gardening.
Tips for Toddlers
- Let your toddlers get a little messy! Have them dig holes for seeds and fill in the dirt on top.
- Choose sensory plants that have bright blooms, interesting textures, or nice scents.
- Have your toddler pick your produce (and maybe snack a little along the way).
- School-age kids can handle more responsibility – let them choose, plant, and harvest their own plants.
- Encourage your school-age child to keep a gardening journal. It boosts their literacy skills, and also gives them a chance to draw pictures and remember their favorite things about gardening.
- Start getting your kids involved in the kitchen
Tips for Teenagers
- Let your teenagers take total responsibility for their gardens – don’t hover!
- Choose plants that need a little more TLC or let them plant their favorite foods.
- Dinner is on them – encourage your teens to prepare a meal using their harvest.
They Grow So Fast
Gardening with your kids can be as rewarding for them as it is for you, but sometimes getting your kids interested in a new hobby can be difficult, especially with today’s high-tech competition.
Use these tips to help encourage your kids to garden, and remember that forcing them to do something is the quickest way to dull their interest in it.
Part 1: 4 Big Reasons Why You Should Garden With Your Kids
Part 3: 11 Plants Any Kid Can Grow
Part 4: Gardening Without A Yard
Part 5: 8 Gardening Activities For A Rainy Day