Children in the Garden
The garden is a place to relax, sow seeds, and harvest delicious produce. Gardening use to be an activity for retired adults, but today a younger generation is eager to learn where their food comes from. Children love the outdoors, they love being outside, running around, climbing trees and rolling around on the ground. Children also enjoy gardening.
Someone once told me that kids have such a short attention span that they don't focus on gardening as well as adults. Actually, after they do finish with gardening they are ready to explore the rest of nature. They like to wonder off looking at the animals, gathering flower, and playing under trees. Adults like to do this as well.
When it comes to gardening, keeping things fun, simple, and hands-on is very important to how children like to learn. The best way to start is to give your child a small area to grow vegetables or fruits. They can grow on a patio, backyard, or even at their local community garden. Work with your child or children to find out what foods they would be interested in growing. Once you have a list be sure to make two columns, one for winter planting and one for spring planting. Take a moment to let your child know why you put certain plants into each column. If your not sure why, you can let them know that different plants grow and flourish in different conditions. If they still don't understand or believe you, go to the store and show them the back of a seed packed or show them the nursery which always has in season fruits and vegetables.
Once you have your seeds help your child learn about the importance of soil and compost. If you have a local farm or community garden nearby give them a call and see if they would be willing to give you a composting demonstration. Some gardens even have worm composting systems that are fun for the kids. After you and child learn about the importance of soil, go ahead and start your planting. Planting is a lot of fun and you can incorporate math into the process. This is a great way for your child to learn about measurements. After your seeds are planted go ahead and have your child water the garden. Kids love using the hose or a water can to water their gardens.
Waiting for your seeds to grow can be very hard, but this is a great way to talk about patience with your child. You can talk to them about how long it takes a seed to grow into a plant versus how long it takes a baby to become a human. This is a great way to connect your child to nature and explain the similarities between plants and humans. Be sure to help your child maintain their gardens, working with your child on their garden allows you to spend quality time with them. This is something they will remember forever. When your garden is ready to harvest be sure to pick out a nice recipe that your child likes and spend some time preparing it together.
A few tips while in the garden, don't forget to point out pollinators, decomposers, and pests to your child. Explaining how each of these creatures benefit or destroy plants is an important lesson for early gardeners to learn. Best of luck this year in your gardening journey with your children and happy gardening.
If you are interested in any fun gardening activities for kids please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can email you an activity worksheet of hands on gardening ideas.
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