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There are many benefits of gardening for children! We love our kid’s vegetable garden and have a lovely time working in our children’s garden. Together we share joyous moments like the blooming of a gorgeous sunflower or a colorful zinnia. There is laughter and happiness around the garden as we discover a massive zucchini that is overgrown or we munch on fresh snow peas direct from the vine.
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Our Story – Growing Vegetables With Children
My grandmother was a gardener, my mother is a gardener, and I’ve always gardened alongside them. As a teenager and young adult, the incessant weeding and watering seemed pointless. And yet little did I know, through those turbulent teen years characterized by battles with the world, the gardens were always there, as was the joy of looking a rosebud.
So we have always gardened, it is outdoors, it offers fresh air and an escape from inside. 5 minutes weeding and you do feel your tensions relax.
What Are The Benefits Of Gardening For Children
A garden for children connects the kids to their food.
From a young age, my kids have planted seeds, watered, and tended them, and then watch them grow. It is an analogy for life’s actions – you plant a seed, but you must care for it in order for it to blossom. There are no overnight successes in the garden.
Garden activities for kids teach patience and responsibility.
In this day and age of rapid gratification, teaching children how to garden shows that not everything occurs quickly. We love that garden activities for kids teach patience. By giving kids responsibility in a safe setting they also learn that their role is important.
Gardening for children shows how the seasons change.
The garden connects the kids to the earth and to the seasons! In the children’s garden, we educate and nurture the kids by simply observing and practicing.
The garden is outside in the fresh air and can involve physical activity like digging.
It is amazing how 10 minutes outside in the fresh air will make everyone happier and more agreeable
Our kids garden connects our family.
Gardening is a common hobby that we all love. Our shared joy in the garden is something that binds us together as a family, and one that I hope we will share into the future.
10 Steps To Starting A Kids Garden
Having had a Kids garden over many years our first and most important piece of advice is: keep it simple.
- If you have never gardened before, don’t be overwhelmed.
- Make a small kids’ garden, that way it will be easier to manage (also appropriate as many places don’t have lots of space.)
- Plan out what will you do? This will depend on space/time. Especially if you looking to involve your preschooler in the garden, you can ask them to plan. Our older school-age kids have a great time planning their garden beds. We’ve got the kid’s gloves, small gardening shovels, and kid’s watering cans. You don’t NEED the paraphernalia, but they do get into it more! So, yes, consider getting a kids’ gardening set.
- Vegetables or flowers? There are pros and cons to both. The vegetables are fun to eat, the flowers brighten your day and a kids’ flower garden is a lot of fun.
- Ask for help at your own gardening shop
- When starting out with small kids we have opted for easy care vegetables that are easy to harvest for little hands, and awesome to eat straight from the garden. Snow peas are delicious, cherry tomatoes fun to eat, and lunchbox cucumbers a hit. Strawberries are a winner!
- Flowers that smell good and look pretty are also popular – sweet peas look lovely on a trellis or tepee, and sunflowers are our absolute favorites.
- With kids, plant established seedlings. The bigger they are, the more expensive they are to buy. Conversely, larger seedlings should survive better and will appear to be less slow-growing for impatient children.
- Help the kids with the watering, especially if they are small – overwatering can be a killer. Watering the plants is among the first chores our kids ever had, but they still do need some supervision!
- Then, hopefully, sit back, and watch your garden grow!
- Weeding is fun but not advised for toddlers or even pre-schoolers unless under complete supervision.
What Kids Gardening Tools Do I Need
Having gardening gloves are good for kids who don’t like to get their hands muddy/dirty, plus a shovel, bucket, and watering can all make gardening with children more fun! And, every kid loves to play with the hose…. here is a list of the best garden hoses!
Gardening With Children Tips
A Small Garden For Children Is Perfect
We realize that not every family has a backyard; don’t let that stop you. There are many innovative ways to enjoy gardening with children that can be found on Pinterest so that you can grow tomatoes in a narrow corridor or even a window-sill herb garden. The benefits of this joyous, connected activity can be found in many ways.
We also know that our garden is a lot of work and that lots of time maintaining it might not be ideal for everyone, but something small will reap benefits.
Gardening With Babies
My experience of gardening with babies is limited to my own children and experience. However, my kids have loved the garden when they were babies. I’ve popped them in a bouncer and carried them around as I planted, harvested and weeded. Even when my babies were unsettled inside, take them outside and they’ve calmed, often looking about at the trees, leaves, changing light.
Gardening With Toddlers – How To Have A Successful Toddler Garden
Honestly, a toddler garden is fraught with difficulties… they weed your newly planted seedlings, they eat the dirt and they climb all around treading on plants!. However, if you change your expectations and set them up with their own dirt and pot while you work alongside them and you should have 5-10 minute windows of time. My daughter has her own watering can and will look so pleased with herself when she waters the plants.
When you have a toddler garden it is not so much about having them do things in the garden but be comfortable with mess, water and shared outside time. Making mud pies is just as fun as planting for a toddler.
If you want to grow vegetables with a toddler, you need to do the work and then get them to help where possible. Getting them into the routine of being outside in the garden will reap rewards later on.
Gardening With Preschoolers
Gardening with a pre-schooler is a lot of fun! I get mine to dig, and dig… and dig some more! They love participating in all stages of gardening, we like going to garden centers and picking out the plants, then planning the garden when at home.
They like to plant, though they need guidance… and can water quite successfully. Gardening with preschoolers is so much fun and by 4 years old you are really instilling in them a love of nature, and a joy in doing something fun and productive with their parents.
What Are Some Fun Kids Garden Decorations
- Making scarecrows is not technically a garden activity for kids, but it is so much fun!
- Fill old handbags up with soil and plant in them hardy
- Painted decorations – we spent a day painting stepping stones for this fairy garden.
- I am not sure if it is my children in particular or all children, but they like the design of the garden, the arts, and crafts as much as the planting. It doesn’t have to be plant or flower based to be fun and healthy.
Gardening For Children – The Conclusion
We have had so much fun gardening with children – we started when they were babies, then gardened with toddlers, and then through the preschool years. A garden is a place we enjoy family bonding time, as well as have developed new skills and spent time in the outdoors. We hope you enjoy your kids’ vegetable garden as much as we do – and grow some tasty vegetables at the same time!
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