Gardening is not only a soothing and relaxing hobby, it’s also a great way to stimulate your child’s senses and instill in them a love for growing things.
Gardening with your children doesn’t have to mean starting an outdoor project from scratch. In fact, doing so may lead to both of you feeling overwhelmed. Start with a small garden, maybe just a few pots on your porch or if you live in an apartment where space is limited, a few plants under a grow light works, too.
In order to keep your young, up-and-coming gardener interested and excited about their budding new hobby, choose plants that are colorful, flavorful and/or fragrant. If you’re planting from seeds, choose plants that come from large seeds so that little hands are able to easily sow them into the soil. It is also a good idea to choose plants that you will be able to harvest quickly such as beans or sunflowers, so that your child doesn’t lose interest while waiting for them to grow. Avoid slow-growing plants or fruits and vegetables that take all season to form such as watermelons and pumpkins. If you don’t mind waiting, another great idea is to choose fruits or vegetables that your child likes to eat. There is nothing more rewarding than eating something that grew in your very own garden! Also, a child might be more willing to try a new food if they grew it themselves.
Children like to imitate what the adults in their life are doing, so when possible, provide them with their own space in your garden or their own potted plants to care for. You can give them jobs such as weeding a small area or watering plants with a spray bottle. As with any outdoor activity; don’t forget the sunscreen!
Keep in mind that as children become more interested in gardening and in plants in general, you’ll need to ensure that they do not come into contact with irritating, poisonous, or otherwise harmful plants. Make sure that they know right from the beginning that it is never okay to put any plant into their mouths without the consent of a parent or guardian. Even an organic garden free of pesticides and herbicides can still contain harmful plants.
With these tips, you and your child can share the pleasures and rewards of gardening.