A brilliant way to get them engaged and away from the screens inside, is to arrange a day trip to somewhere new. Children love to play — and more often than not, it means playtime will get messy. Gardening gives children the chance to get their hands dirty in a safe space and away from white furniture.
From pulling out weeds to jumping in puddles and digging holes, it's a great way for them to explore all that happens in the garden. Top tip: Buy some kids' gardening tools to encourage them to work alongside you in tending the plants. It's important to establish good habits about healthy eating early on in young children. Getting them clued up about how fresh produce grows will encourage them to think about where their food comes from. Start by growing simple fruits and vegetables such as peas, radishes, carrots, lettuce and strawberries. Your children will love to water them each day, watch them grow and eventually eat them.
Offer positive reinforcements for the work children do in the garden. Try to think of fun games such as tidying up, picking fruit and watering flowers to keep them engaged outside. Type keyword s to search. Today's Top Stories. The 20 most tranquil villages in the UK.
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A Beginners Guide to Gardening with Kids
Sign up to our free weekly newsletter. Adam Hester Getty Images. Think big, start small Start by opting for small easy-to-grow flower seeds such as sunflowers, marigolds and dandelions.
Nature's playground According to new research, just 1 in 5 children have a connection with nature. Advertisement - Continue Reading Below. More From Garden. Whether you use raised beds, containers or ground plots, be sure to give each child his or her own separate plot. Keep it small, very small for young kids. Put their plots right in the middle of the action, with the best soil and light.
Set them up for success. If your children have grown past their sandbox years, consider converting the old sandbox to a garden bed. Of course, a productive garden bed needs to be in good sunlight and soil should be free of tree roots. It may be necessary to relocate the sandbox if growing conditions are less than ideal. It can be hard to locate good tools for kids, especially work gloves that fit a small hand. With some garden tools, like a hoe or spade, you can easily saw the handle shorter.
Children learn better when they understand the context of their activity.
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They will learn that gardening can be fun, but far more than idle play; they are contributing to the family well-being. Besides planting and nurturing their garden beds, be sure they alone do the harvesting and preparation of their crop for the table, no matter how modest the offering. The care given to sprouting seeds and nurturing the young seedling are a valuable part of the gardening experience. Seeds will need to be started indoors in a warm room and once sprouted they can be transplanted into pots until ready to set out, or they can be placed into a cold frame which is set on top of the garden bed.
Not every garden task is pleasant, and the child may not be ready at all times for all chores.
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You may need to go out in the evening to pick a few slugs off the lettuce, or be the one to run out and move the sprinkler. If their attention wanes, or the garden tasks become boring, let them build a scarecrow. This activity is still a contribution to the gardening effort and adds another layer of interest to the garden scene.
It also reminds the child of the importance of the garden crops. Take a photo of their harvest and send it to the grandparents. The attention given to their work is the best motivator for children to stay involved with a project. Shop Learn Our Story Gardening with Children How to encourage little hands to plant, water, and grow using the easiest seeds and the best methods.
Choosing What to Plant
Read Guide Shop Products. Children curious, like to learn by doing, and love to play in the dirt. Working in a garden, a child can experience the satisfaction that comes from caring for something over time, while observing the cycle of life firsthand. What to Plant: Top 10 Crops for Children Our children were involved with gardening from an early age, and it was gratifying to watch their interest and self-esteem grow as their gardening efforts yielded good results.
Radishes Radishes bring quick results for the young gardener, germinating in days, and with a very short growing season of days. Snow Peas Snow peas are a quick-growing early crop, and fun for kids to eat right off the vine. Nasturtiums These flowers are easy to grow and yield results quickly, which encourages the young gardener. Bush Beans Fast, easy, high yield and, because they do not grow tall, they are easy for kids to harvest.
Your Go-To Guide for Gardening with Children
Carrots Carrot seeds can be sown directly into soil and prefer cooler temperatures. Other Crops Our Children Have Tried, With Mixed Results: Corn : A heavy feeder, corn needs lots of compost or fertilizer, and requires a lot of growing space in relation to the size of the harvest. In our garden, either the crows got the seedlings, or the plants just never got big enough to yield a good harvest.
Green onions : Easy to grow, but not all that exciting. Zucchini : Easy, fast, and impressive size, but it takes a good recipe to get children excited about zucchini. Strawberries : Great, but can be a struggle with the predators. Netting the plants from the birds and raccoons, however, was a constant chore which the young children often forgot. Birds became caught in the strawberry netting, which was never fun. Watermelon : Similar to pumpkins to grow, watermelon have to be well grown to be large and tasty.
In our experience, the fruit was smaller than expected and not very sweet. We prefer to give the space to pumpkins. Reuse the Sandbox If your children have grown past their sandbox years, consider converting the old sandbox to a garden bed.
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Resources for Young Gardeners The Great Plant Escape : This is a great primer on gardening written for children; follow the clues and learn the plant growing basics. All you need to know about getting started with your first garden in a fun and kid-friendly way.
The Adventure of Herman the Worm : Activities, games, and info. Check out the fun page and the book list.
From Our Shop. Farmstead Raised Garden Bed. Natural Cedar Raised Garden Beds. Worm Factory Composter. Pollen Bee Nest. Maine Garden Hod.