Making Gardening a Family Affair
Gardening is a three-generation family affair at Spray-N-Grow. And every kid started gardening early. (Sometimes against their will.)
If you clicked on this article, you already know that gardening is fun and rewarding. Little is more rewarding than sharing that joy with your kids. In addition to being enjoyable and productive, gardening is a great way to spend quality time with your kids of all ages. Pull them away from the TV and their computers and get them outside!
Three Generations of Gardening Tips, from Our Family to Yours:
Show them how much you enjoy gardening.
This one is very simple: spend time in your garden. It is especially easy to stimulate a child’s interests when they see you having fun.
Keep expectations reasonable.
Don’t expect a perfect garden. Everyone can participate at their own pace and within their attention spans and age ranges if you keep it easy.
Dig it! Kids love to dig.
This is a great way to teach the basics while letting them play and just have fun. Don’t worry if the dirt ends up everywhere. A little dirt never hurt anyone, right?
Let them play an active role in planning and choosing.
Take your children to the local nursery and let them pick seeds or transplants for their garden. When they get to play an active role, they feel a sense of ownership.
Grow a vegetable garden.
It’s incredible how few kids know where food comes from and they’ll be amazed that they can grow their own food. Radishes sprout quickly and can be harvested in just a couple weeks. Ruffled lettuces in reds and speckles are speedy and fun. Beans become much more appealing when you grow them yourself. Kids loves to pick and eat warm cherry tomatoes right off the vine. Round mini carrots reach a harvestable size well before conventional long varieties. Focus on using organic and natural pesticides or fungicides for everyone’s safety.
Use gardening to brush up your children’s math and science skills.
Let them count the seeds they are planting. Let them measure the distance between plants. Teach them how plants are living things that can grow with only sun and water and dirt. Not only will you capture their attention, but you will also be polishing their skills as you go. It never hurts to squeeze in a little education while you’re having fun.
Grow a theme garden.
This is a great way to let your kids use their imagination and express their creativity. The sky’s the limit. Some fun themes include:
Alphabet gardens- A different plant for every letter of the alphabet or every plant must start with the same letter.
Favorite color gardens
Sensory gardens that offer a wide range of smells, tastes, textures and sights
A “Freedom Garden”- red, white and blue in rows, maybe even the shape and design of the flag if you are feeling really ambitious.
Give children their own tools.
Tools don’t have to be expensive. An old spoon and plastic bow that you have around the house serve the same purpose as a shovel and a bucket. You can also venture down to the garden center and purchase garden tools made for children’s hands. Kids will have the same amount of fun either way.
Give them a space to call their own.
It doesn’t have to be big. This will teach kids ownership and responsibility and your children will be able to take pride in their own little space and progress.
Press or dry flowers to make a beautiful arrangement, make potpourri or a pomander ball. Children love making things and will be amazed at the crafts and gifts that they can make from the garden. This is particularly fun for those kids who don’t love to get dirty. (Speaking from experience with my own very prissy five-year-old daughter. Crafts are the way to her heart.)
Not too crafty yourself?
This is a lovely how-to for flower arrangements, wreaths, and framed displays.
Have a contest.
Kids love to be rewarded. (Don’t we all?) Be sure to give each child a reward; the biggest tomato, the plant with the most flowers or the tallest sunflower. (A little Spray-N-Grow will help!)
Remember the goal is fun, not perfection.
Pick a few of these tips that you know are best for your family and have fun with them. After all, the goal is to have a good time outside. And with a it-doesn’t-have-to-be-perfect approach, gardening is something the whole family can enjoy.