6 Ways to Get Your Children Involved in Gardening
Gardening is an enjoyable hobby for many adults, but it’s a great activity for children, too. They not only get to explore nature and cultivate their curiosity, but gardening for children provides many opportunities for learning. Whether you have a large garden plot or a few containers for planting, there are many ways to get children involved in gardening. Here are a few tips on gardening for children!
At Montessori Kids Universe, gardening for children is part of our enrichment activities along with yoga, cooking, foreign language and music. Gardening has many benefits including improved alertness, cognitive abilities and social skills, along with building self-confidence and encouraging healthy eating. The American Journal of Public Health has also shown that students perform better when they have access to green space, and that it is a natural treatment for attention deficit disorders.
Ready to start planting? Here are six tips to get you started.
Let children help select the vegetables and flowers
This gets children invested in the process and is a learning opportunity, especially if you plant from seeds. It’s exciting to see a seed sprout and poke through the dirt. They can watch the plant’s progress as it grows and flowers. If planting vegetables, it helps children connect where food comes from. If they’ve never seen a garden, they may think all food comes from the grocery store. They’ll also be excited to eat the harvest! In gardening for children, it is important to involve them in all aspects.
Provide a small garden space of their own
This tip is especially helpful if you have multiple children. Designate a small area or one container for each child. It gives them a sense of ownership and pride.
Have them help with planting
Whether you read it together or have them read the instructions by themselves, there are plenty of basic science principles in the directions, including how much light and water your plant needs to survive. Show them how to dig the hole if they’re old enough, but all children can help put the seed or seedling in the soil. Most children love this part because they enjoy getting their hands dirty, but it teaches children of all ages that with reward comes work. It is important to focus on the fun parts of gardening for children.
Have them be in charge of watering
This teaches responsibility and keeps them interested as the plant grows. Show them that plants need water to thrive, but overwatering can be bad for them.
Show them how to tend the garden
Most plants need care to thrive. This includes pruning, fertilizing, weeding and controlling pests. Although some of these activities are not appropriate for all ages, these activities provide teachable moments and are a great way to spend time together. It also helps teach patience. Who knew gardening for children could have so many benefits!?
Let them harvest
This is one of the best parts of gardening for children! It’s exciting when it’s time to enjoy the fruits (or vegetables) of your labor. Show them how to gently harvest the tomatoes, carrots, peas or cucumbers. (All good plants for children to grow.) Some foods like strawberries and raspberries don’t need any food prep except washing. After the vegetables are picked, they can help prepare the meal. Check out our other blog about healthy recipes you can make with your children and use your harvest as ingredients!
We hope you’re inspired by this article on gardening for children! If you’d like to learn more about the enrichment activities and unique curriculum at Montessori Kids Universe in Mason Ohio, we’d love to schedule a tour. You can also contact us 513-466-8007.