Children and Gardening – a match made in Heaven

2012-06-20

Gardening is a fun way for our kids to learn about nature and their environment. And gardening helps them understand where our food comes from. 

Being outside with children is a great time to enjoy the nature in your backyard. Point out the local bird family in the trees and talk about the bees pollinating the flowers. Explain what everything is doing and how they interact together.

All ages of children can be encouraged to garden. Toddlers want to be with you while you’re outside and will eagerly join in whatever you are working on. You can encourage their help by having an area to dig in, or maybe by letting them help push a wheelbarrow. You can have them help water plants and push in seedlings. There are many child-sized gardening tools available to help encourage these outdoor activities.

Perhaps set aside a small raised garden bed for them to grow their own vegetables and flowers. Encourage them to grow flowers such as Nasturtiums which are a very easy flower to grow, with large seeds for little fingers. They are virtually care free once established and produce brightly coloured edible flowers. Sunflowers are also wonderfully easy to grow and their fast height is satisfying for children to witness.

Broad beans are one of the easiest vegetables for children to grow. The dwarf varieties can be grown in small gardens or even in containers. Of course lettuce grows very fast and new varieties are more heat-tolerant for growing in the summer. And a strawberry patch is delightful for children (just don’t expect many of those to make it to the kitchen!).

One fun activity to consider is painting a colorful sign to announce that it is their garden. Creating small signs around the garden with plant names will help your child start to identify particular plants. Painted round river rocks can make fun plant markers. Maybe even try your hand at building a scarecrow! 

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Safety tips:

Have children wear a hat, sunscreen, and suitable clothing.

Garden organically! Do not use chemicals.

Secure fences and gates.

Never leave uncovered buckets of water around very young children. 

And be very careful about poisonous plants and seeds. Never plant Castor Beans, as pretty as they are. Please visit this highly informative post on a WordPress blog called ‘Medical Discounts’: Be Careful When Choosing Plants

16 responses to Children and Gardening – a match made in Heaven

  1. 

    I love it! Not to mention, what kid doesn’t like to play in the dirt! – Cathy

  2. 

    Great blog! My 3 year old and I have a first time vegetable garden this year. She loves being out in the dirt with me.

  3. 

    Thank you for sharing these great ideas, Gina. I plan to use many of them when my two month old grandson gets a bit older!

    Russ

  4. 

    Hi Gina. Your post has inspired me! I have a 6 pack of butternut squash plants I bought at half-price for $1, and I am going to help my 4 year old plant some to tend. The plants are a fair size already compared to new seedlings so it will be exciting for her to watch them quickly grow and grow. I tried to grow watermelon from seed this year for the kids to plant and nurture, but they died before I could get them in the ground (you know the kind of weather we had – Central Alberta). Our garden is large and kind of a serious endeavour because we want to produce as much as we can to feed our family (of 12) but I also want it to be fun so the love of growing is sparked. Thank you!

    • 

      Hello dear neighbour! Any one of us brave enough to attempt growing anything in this challenging climate gets my cheer. Good on you! I love butternut squash… yum! This year (in managing a small plot and learning to grow squash vertically) I am back to zucchini plants, but hey! I love zucchini. And I love sale-plants too. Some of my best treasures have happened from discount plants. I love that you are from a large family and are growing and sharing food together. And that you’re you’re planting with your 4 year old. And I am so grateful for your kind and delightful comment here. Much love, all around! Thank YOU! Hugs, Gina

  5. 

    Love it! Love the ‘original playstation’ lol so true!
    I don’t know about where you are, but in Australia we have had a generation of ‘cotton wool kids’ who didn’t make mud pies, or drink out of hoses, and aren’t allowed to climb trees in case their hurt themselves. Monkey bars have been ripped out of school playgrounds and kids are allergic to everything, mums are cleaning with hospital grade cleaners and keeping their kids from other kids.
    We now finally have a resurgence of what I consider to be common (no to common) sense, where psychologists are saying kids need to be out, playing, swinging, getting dirty and experiencing life! Parents are even starting to LET THEM!
    I feel for kids who weren’t able to grow up like I did, I never wore shoes – ever, not even to school – I played until ‘dark’ which was when all kids had to be home by and if I saw a dog in the streets I’d play with it and follow it around hoping it would take me on an adventure. My childhood in a small country town was AMAZEBALLS, I wish that freedom for all children.
    Great post!

    • 

      Wow, great comment! So well put, and I agree with you completely. How lucky we were to run around and get dirty, climb trees, fall out of trees and off bikes and horses, learning that we are resilient. Scraped knees were like badges of honour showing we were practicing and getting better at something (like riding a bike, fast!). Let’s hope the era of keeping kids uber-clean and sterilizing the heck out of everything calms down, because it is now being proven there really is some truth to what my wise old Grandmother used to say, “Children need to eat a peck of dirt”. In an antique dictionary I found that word and it’s a weight of around a pound! Being too clean doesn’t build those antibodies our bodies need to develop healthily. Like you I am so thankful to have grown up in a small town and playing out in the dirt. Even when we raise our kids nowadays in cities, let’s give them a shovel and sacrifice that back yard lawn (or at least some of it) to grow some seeds into food and flowers. Thanks so much for your cheer of support. Right back at you dear one!

  6. 

    I agree with the virtual high five! This blog post gives me great inspiration. THANK YOU FOR DOING WHAT YOU DO! Kudos to you from North Carolina, USA!

    • 

      Thanks so much Kecia! Kudos right back to you for your awesome blog. If I lived in your area you would definitely be my Realtor 🙂 But I enjoy how your blog is really about cherishing our homes and our loved ones inside it. Here’s to many more visits and enjoyable reads. ~Gina

  7. 

    Now THAT’S a post I get excited about! (I’m really trying not to comment on every one of your posts, but it’s hard not to.)

    • 

      😀 Are you kidding me?! Have I told you yet that YOU ROCK?! (Ok maybe that expression is getting old, and maybe I’m too old myself to use it, but you do!)