Creating your own garden is fantastic for your mood (and food!) and what could be more rewarding than sharing this with your own children. Planting a garden teaches important life skills. Not only will your kids learn hard work, focus and patience; but growing your own food and herbs will teach your child about nutrition, recycling and for younger children you can incorporate colors, numbers and first words. Allowing your children to get dirty in a productive way will release some pent up energy and bring you hours of joy as you watch the plants grow. It may be hard to decide where to start, but follow these five steps and create an amazing first garden with your kids in any environment.
By Jane Blanchard
- Let the kids come up with ideas
One of the most fantastic things about kids is their free imaginations. Let your little ones come up with ideas for their first garden. Start by brainstorming about some favorite foods. Asking your children what foods they love best will open up a conversation about nutrition. Your child may reply that pizza is their favorite food, with which you can explain that pizza is made from tomatoes, peppers and onions. Ask what they will like to include in their garden. Allow your child to make a list of each item they want to include along with the color of each fruit or vegetable. You’ll want a colorful and exciting looking garden, so encourage some variety. Create a planning chart so that they can visualize what their garden will look like. Your main job will be as a guide, so let your child take control of the design and learn responsibility by caring for their plants.
- Check on Favorable Garden Conditions
You will want your plants to be successful, so do your research. There’s nothing more upsetting than seeing your child disappointed, so you will need to ensure that conditions are favorable for the selected plants to grow. Be sure you buy seedlings or seed packs that grow well in your climate. With all of your child’s hard work and care, it will be beautiful to see the plants sprout and thrive under your watchful eye. Don’t worry about the aesthetics of your child’s first garden. Your concern regarding placement of the plants should be more focused on where they will grow best not necessarily where they look most attractive.
- Make it fun!
Allow your child to get dirty! Kids will be curious about everything they see. The garden will become an exciting world with new things popping up each day to observe and learn from. To your dismay, your child will likely take a special interest in all of the bugs and creepy crawlers that make your garden home. Encourage your child to observe and learn about these insects. Don’t stop them if they want to take a closer look, these new creatures are intriguing and an important part of our ecosystem.
- Do not use chemicals
Accidents happen, and protecting your child from an encounter with a harmful chemical product is important. There are many natural pesticides and fertilizers you can make yourself or buy. Always check your garden first for harmful things before you allow your children to play.
- Grow some edible plants
Choosing some plants that your child can actually eat in a meal, will make the garden experience extra special. Your child will learn about the environment and the importance of our earth for survival. This will allow your child to determine at an early age the importance of respecting and appreciating the world we live in. Though many children don’t love to eat vegetables, they will be excited to taste something that they grew themselves. This can help your child learn to love more nutritious and natural foods.
Many kids never get the chance to explore and learn from their environment. The discovery of your child’s first garden will be important to their development and sprout a love for the earth that will last a lifetime.
For more ideas and inspiration, head to Modernize.com.