For many, gardening is a solo hobby, a way to de-stress from everyday life and watch something thrive. For others, it’s a way to spend quality time with the kids while getting them outdoors. It can be just as fun for kids to plant flowers or vegetables and watch them grow as it is for adults. Together, make it into a special project that everyone enjoys. You can create a beautiful meadow with a selection of wildflower seeds if that’s the kind of garden you want to achieve.
That’s not to say gardening isn’t hard work. Kids may lose their focus if it’s an all-day event, but carve an hour or two at least one day a week to shop for, plant, or tend to your garden. If you’re new to gardening yourself, don’t worry because learning is half the fun! There are a lot of tools and storage spaces you can look into while working on your new garden, for example, you can find a shed with a loft which could be a great place to store your tools and infant plants. See below for more helpful tips for gardening with your kids!
Tip #1: What will you grow? Decide together what you want to harvest from your garden. This will depend on the season and the type of climate you’re in, but your local nursery can give you good tips on what might be most successful. If you feel as though you won’t be able to dedicate a lot of time to your garden, you can also get advice on which plants need less maintenance than others.
Tip #2: Choose a spot. Where’s a good place to set up your garden where it won’t easily be trampled by foot traffic or surrounded by gravel or hard dirt? Typically, a sunnier space is a better choice unless what you choose to plant prefers the shade. Clear out a specific area dedicated to your garden and you and your little ones can then choose to decorate it anyway you wish. Have the kids help you customize a sign that marks it as your little one’s garden.
Tip #3: Start small. It’s always exciting to take on a new project, but it’s better to start small and then add on later. Allow your kiddos to choose one or two seed packets they’d like to plant and you can do the same. Do you want an herb garden? Do you want to grow vegetables? Or, are flowers really what you’re looking for? If your answer is all of the above, keep your main garden to one of these, and then try to grow your other choices in their own individual planters. You could even check out some sheds for sale and put all your gardening tools inside it. Start small to keep them entertained and motivated.
Tip #4: Make it fun for the kids. Buy your children their own set of gardening gloves, watering can, plastic rake and shovel. Dedicating garden tools that are theirs only to use will make them feel more involved in the process and wanting to help out when it comes time to water the plants and pull weeds.
Tip #5: Don’t worry about the straight and narrow. Yes, it looks nice when you’re able to plant things in straight rows, but don’t worry if seeds end up scattering and you have sprouts popping up in different places. To make it seem like a hobby rather than a chore, make sure that you don’t keep the “rules” of gardening too strict.
Tip #6: Document your progress. Take before, during, and after pictures and make sure to snap shots of your kids working hard. You’ll be amazed by the transformation once you start making gardening part of your family’s life.
Tip #7: Celebrate your success! Especially if you’ve decided to grow vegetables, you can actually eat the fruits of your labor, so to speak. If you’ve grown tomatoes, for example, let your little ones search for ones that are ripe for picking. Not only does this make them excited about what they’ve planted, but also interested in eating fresh food that’s good for them. There will be a sense of pride they will hold when they can see the product of their work.
These days, it may seem next to impossible to encourage kids to get out and play, but when you make it fun, they become much more eager. In the summer months, make sure you start early enough in the day so you don’t risk overheating. Make sure everyone wears sunscreen and gardening hats. In the afternoon, plan an outing to cool off, like heading to the city pool, turning on the sprinkler, or just enjoying a popsicle inside with the comfort of the air-conditioning.
When the fall months roll around, squash and pumpkins are a good choice, especially if you grow your own Jack o’lantern in time for Halloween. You don’t need to visit a pumpkin patch when you can plant one in your own backyard! For more tips on gardening with kids, check out this guide.