Today we have a guest post written by Ann Katelyn. Ann has dedicated most of her life to gardening and writes a blog called The Sumogardener. She is a big fan of flowers and plants and is sharing her insight today on ways to get your kids involved in gardening and having fun.
How To Help Kids Enjoy Gardening
Compared to playing video games and doing sports activities, gardening may not seem very enticing to kids. However, gardening can be a fruitful and fun activity for both parents and their kids.
Teaching gardening skills to kids can have many benefits and is a great learning activity. It’s a fantastic activity to do on World Earth Day and teaching kids how to plant and tend to the garden can have many benefits.
According to The Telegraph, a survey conducted by the Texas A&M University in 2000 noted that children who participate in gardening projects are likely to have had reduced stress levels and higher self-esteem.
The Royal Horticultural Society in London also shared some benefits to gardening with kids. They believe that kids are more likely to eat healthier and improve their school performance if they participate in gardening.
So, how does one help kids to become interested in gardening? Here are a few simple tips that might help boost your child’s interest in gardening.
Keeping Things Simple
The first thing children need to learn is the simplicity of gardening. You can’t expect children to never make a mistake and understand the different responsibilities required for plant growth without expecting some trial and error.
If an experienced gardener works alongside the child and guides them in a simple step by step manner it will help the child grow in confidence as they learn new skills.
A great tip is to avoid using complex words to explain various processes such as plant rotation and mulching. When teaching kids gardening skills such as how to remove weeds it is best to use common words which allow children to learn fast and replicate what you do. While you tend to your plants, children can do similar activities in their own garden beds.
Similarly, teaching children the names and how to use gardening equipment can help a child to grow in confidence during their gardening experience.
One good idea and for safety purposes, you could replace gardening equipment with lightweight and shorter versions which are more suitable for children.
You could keep things fun by letting them use simple gardening tools like a lawn sprinkler.
If the kids want to water the plants in other ways you can get watering hoses here and teach them how to use it and also how to fill up a watering can.
Another tip when teaching kids gardening skills would be to have an appropriate storage area for tools. Kids can have fun as they learn the purpose of different gardening tools and you can use this as a learning and teaching opportunity.
Don’t worry about the kids getting dirty. Getting busy in the garden can be fun and exploring and experimenting in the garden can be a great learning experience.
Making Decisions Together
Even if you are the most informed gardener in your family, you shouldn’t be the only one who calls the shots. Yes, you can still oversee the general gardening plan but allowing the kids opportunities to make decisions on what to grow, where to plant and the design of the garden can be a great confidence building activity as well as being educational and fun.
After all, having the opportunity to collaborate greatly enhances interest in one’s activities. Teaching your kids about the differences among various flowers, fruits, and vegetables can help them develop a vision of what their own garden should look like.
Don’t introduce all your gardening ideas all at once. Introduce them one by one, step by step. During the first month, you could teach about proper watering and plant spacing.
After this, you can teach the importance of removing weeds and having raised garden beds. Then you might want to teach lessons on pruning and grafting. Teaching step by step should allow your kids to gain confidence and a love of gardening.
Growing a Variety of Plants
In order to maintain the interest of your kids, you could grow various plants. Let them find the best place to plant tomatoes. Explain to them that watering plants constantly is not always a good thing.
Kids love doing things quickly, but gardening involves patience and control. Get your kids to see that planting potatoes is actually not the same as planting sunflowers. Grow a treasure trove of flowering plants so that bees and beautiful butterflies will approach your garden.
Have fragrant plants like jasmine and lemon balm while also growing plants with interesting textures like aloe vera and dragon flowers. Unfolding this diversity should ideally stimulate their brain to become even more interested in gardening whilst learning and having fun all at the same time.
Another idea for a fun World Earth Day Activity could be to teach kids how to create a compost pit. This can be a dirty task, but your kids will definitely love finding various things for the compost. From tea bags to sawdust and even banana peels, there are so many common items that kids can collect for composting. Through this you can teach children that things can have new purposes beyond their intended functions. Simply put a compost bin will teach children about recycling and reusing materials, which is great for the environment.
Overall, gardening with your kids doesn’t have to be a hassle at all. As long as you are patient and you know how to keep things fun in the garden, children will listen and learn and have fun as they learn new and interesting life long gardening skills.
-Anne Katelyn. The Sumo Gardner