Some of my fondest memories from growing up include being outside and helping my dad in the garden. My parents always had a vegetable and fruit garden in the summers. My dad grew up on a farm and doesn’t sit still, so it’s quite natural for him to be working outside even after he gets home from his regular job.
I remember the first time I was given my own little patch in the yard to do with whatever I wanted. My dad and I bought scalloped landscape edging stones, formed them into a circle, and I planted whatever flowers I wanted there. It’s still one of my favorite memories, and I think about it nearly every time I visit home.
Now that summer is just around the corner, you might be looking for similar ways to get your children outside and in the garden. Whether or not your child is already into the outdoors, we have some tips to help you cultivate a green thumb for your little ones.
Let them take ownership.
I helped out often with gardening and yard maintenance growing up, but I didn’t always enjoy it. However, it changed for me when I was able to pick out some of the things we planted!
Even if it isn’t a flower, vegetable or other plant that you’d normally pick out, I suggest just going for it! Your kids will likely feel more empowered and inspired when you trust them to pick out their plants. And, you can do like my parents did, and give them a small patch of yard or a small container to plant in.
Show them how to start seeds.
Spring is the perfect time to start certain seeds, and kids will likely get a kick out of watching the tiny seeds burst through soil as they create stems, leaves and then blooms.
It’s like science class but in the comfort of your home! They can take even more pride in knowing they planted, watered and took care of the plant all the way from a seed to whatever fruit, vegetable or flower blooms.
Buy them their own gardening gear.
I thought it was the coolest thing when I was a small child that we owned a small shovel and hoe that were me-sized! It made gardening more fun because I could dig things myself, rather than having to wait for my dad to do it.
Now, buying gardening supplies doesn’t have to be expensive. Even if you give them hand-me-down gardening aprons or hats, it’ll be fun for them to have their own gear specifically for gardening. Plus, you can pick up small gardening tools at most stores once summer rolls around.
Make watering plants into play time.
Having a kid-sized watering pail is fun, but you can increase the good times by making watering time into play time! I worked at a daycare for a couple summers during college, and sprinkler days were always the kids’ favorite.
So, if you have a sprinkler, you can get that out for kids to run through while also watering your garden and other plants. Don’t have a sprinkler but do have a watering hose? This can be just as fun! You and your kids can put on your swimwear and take turns watering plants and spraying each other. I’ve found it’s almost always more fun when the adults get involved.
Bring the garden inside.
If you don’t have the outdoor space to plant a garden, you can bring it indoors! Let kids pick out potted varieties of different vegetables, fruits or herbs, or even pick out some flower seeds that do well in containers.
This is also a great time to teach kids (and maybe even yourself!) about potted-variety plants, different sunlight and moisture needs, and even how to repot a plant once it’s too big for its original container. Plus, it’ll be easier for the children in your life to watch their garden change and grow throughout the season.
Getting kids involved in everyday activities doesn’t have to be a battle, especially as you prepare for school to end and summer vacation to begin. Gardening can get them outdoors and interested in the world around them! If you need help picking out plants for your children, stop by our garden center and let our team help you out.