Gardening with Kids
- is Multi-sensory (children learn best when more than one sense is used during an activity)
- Develops Fine Motor Skills
- provides Quality Time
- helps kids Respect our environment
- teaches responsibility to care for our Environment
- introduces kids to Healthy Eating
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The best way to get started is to read gardening books then plan out a space to plant. The space you’ll need depends on the type of plant you want to grow.
What to Plant?
If you’re interested in the healthy eating aspect of gardening start with sweet vegetables and easy to grow fruits like sugar plum (grape or cherry) tomatoes and strawberries.
We started gardening with the lowest point of entry. It was really just a test to see if it would be worth it to plan out a small garden in the spring. I called it grocery gardening. We saved the seeds from our groceries and tried sprouting them. This way, I thought I don’t have to spend a bunch of money on something he doesn’t like. Turned out this sprouting method worked really well for us and he LOVED IT! We sprouted an apple tree, persimmon tree, several avocado trees and a mandarin tree.
Where to Plant
Your garden can be a planter on a porch, a raised garden bed in the front (or back) yard or a large carved out piece of land, whatever works best for you, just remember to tailor the space to the plants needs. What you will plant is based on the environment you are able to provide.
Another great way if you’re just starting out is to plant bulbs together in the fall.
It’s is a one day project that has enormous rewards the following spring.
“Remember the day we planted the bulbs?”
“This is what we were planting!”
It only took a little over an hour to plant 3 small bags of bulbs. I did a little prep work before hand and watered the soil a little bit everyday until it was soft & pre-dug the first half of the holes. This has become a family planting tradition. The second year we planted fragrant bulbs like Hyacinth but this season was unusually dry and warm.
Introductory Gardening Activities
Getting kids involved in gardening doesn’t take too much effort. You can try a mud kitchen for littles as you work in the garden. Very few kids will resist the opportunity for messy play, especially digging in the dirt. You can also use a mud kitchen to make pretend food or use backyard plants & rocks to make “stone soup” or “potions”.
Another fun gardening related idea is a fruit/ veggie cutting station (you can re-purpose the mud kitchen and use real kitchen scraps or play food and wooden knife like the Melissa and Doug food you can cut.
More Garden activities
Tend the soil:
- re-seed grass, rake leaves, compost, water & weed
- Seasonal flowers ones that attract honey bees like jasmine & lavender to help your garden plants grow
- Fruits Tomatoes, Strawberries, squash
- Seasonal Vegetables Zucchini is super easy to grow. Try my chocolate chip zuchinni bread recipe to get your kids to actually eat it!
- An enchanted garden (using succulents & decorative trinkets in a pot)
Tend the plants:
- Compost dead leaves
- Remove ripe fruit or vegetables
- Prepare for winter (remove plants that won’t grow back) or prune plants that will rejuvenate in the spring).
- The pants that grow wild in your yard. We have acorns sprouting basically year round which looks like a mini oak grove. This is a natural resource we used to do plant life cycle lessons; acorn-seed, Sprout, sapling & our neighbors fully grown Oak tree where all the acorns come from.
Process the information:
- Talk about what you’re doing/ learning when you’re gardening
- Start a gardening journal
- ask questions and talk about what you’re doing
- what they notice or wonder
- read books or use the internet to find answers
The Science of Gardening!
- Plant life cycle
- Water cycle
- Symbiotic relationship between plants and animals (we NEED each other)
- Where does food come from?
- Importance of insects
- Helper insects and pests
- Geology, rocks & the layers of the earth
- How humans use plants?
- medicinal, food, prevent erosion,