Helpful tips for gardening with kids, plus more gardening activities for kids. These ideas work with all ages and gardens of all sizes!
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Tips for Successful Gardening With Kids
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Spring is the perfect time to get kids involved with gardening.
Almost all kids are excited by watching seeds sprout and grow into plants. There’s something magical about the way water and sunshine can transform something so small and unassuming into a cornstalk or a tomato plant or a sunflower.
Whether we are starting seeds indoors, planting seeds directly in the ground, or transplanting plants from a garden center, there are many ways to involve children in the process.
Let Children Choose what to Plant in the Garden
Kids love an opportunity to choose what to plant.
One of my favorite spring outings is a trip to the local garden center with my kids; I let each of them pick out some plant starts or seed packets.
When I’m choosing things to plant, I most often choose vegetables and herbs. But some of my kids really love growing flowers.
The rose bushes in my front yard always remind me of my oldest daughter’s eagerness to make the yard beautiful with flowers, and the patch of forget-me-nots that comes back every year reminds me of the eager five-year-old who planted them our first year in this house, over a decade ago.
That five-year-old is taller than me now, but when I look at his flowers I remember an excited little boy holding a pack of flower seeds he had picked out himself.
Set Aside Garden Space for Each Child
Some years, I have set aside one or two raised garden beds just for the kids. Here is one that I divided into squares so each child could plant what they wanted in their own square:
The purpose of this kind of bed isn’t to grow the best laid out or efficient garden; it is to involve kids in the joy of gardening. An added benefit, if you have kids who are sometimes hesitant to try new foods or reluctant to eat vegetables, is that most kids are excited to eat something they have grown themselves.
Children Enjoy Planting Edibles They Can Pick and Eat
Garden edibles that are usually a hit with kids include those that can be picked and enjoyed straight off the plant, such as cherry tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and a perennial favorite in my family–peas.
Peas can be particularly fun for young children to grow, because they sprout and grow quickly.
You Can Grow a Garden in a Small Space
What if you don’t have space for a large garden? When my oldest children were young, our family lived in a series of apartments without yard space of our own.
This didn’t stop us from experiencing the joy of gardening; we learned that many plants can be grown in containers. Cherry tomatoes were one of our favorites.
What we grow and where we grow it is less important than the opportunity to share the joy of planting and tending and harvesting. There is a lot to be said for just going out and getting our hands in the dirt alongside our kids.
What are your top tips for gardening with kids?
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Sarah chooses to see in life an endless adventure, and greets each new side trail as a path to explore and learn from. An Air Force veteran with degrees in anthropology and education, her current endeavors include attempting to wrangle seven children, four cats, and eleven chickens and planting as many fruit trees as will fit on her property. In her spare time, she listens to many audiobooks and indulges in occasional writing of poetry.