How to Get Your Kids Involved in Gardening
Gardening is a very important skill that exposes you to many benefits. Not only are you spending time outside, but it also presents the opportunity to learn more about math and science, develop responsibility, and create healthy habits. It’s important to find ways to involve your kids in the garden so they can reap these benefits.
Let Them Choose Plants
If you want to get your kids involved in gardening, you need to give them a reason to be invested. One way of doing this is letting them pick out the plants. By giving them the choice, they feel more responsible for them and they will want to watch their progress. You can also guide your child’s plant choices. Talk to them about which plants will be the easiest to take care of, which will take the longest to grow, etc. If you plant vegetables, make sure they pick ones they will actually eat once it’s harvest time.
Teach Them About Plants
As you engage your kids in gardening, make sure you teach them about the plants. You can start off by going over the plant life cycle. There are many plant life cycle activities you can do to help them understand the basics. It’s also important to teach them how plants grow including their need for water, sunlight, and nutrients from the soil. Once your kids understand the basics, teach them about the specific plants you will be planting. This will also help them feel more invested because they will be knowledgeable about the plants they are caring for.
Let Them Play
Not every job in the garden will be fun. However, you can find ways to turn the more boring activities into games to help get your kids involved. For example, weeding is most notorious for being disliked. You can make this into a game by seeing who can pick the most weeds or who can do it the fastest. That way the work gets done and you have a good time doing it. While you’re working, you should also give your kids a chance to explore and play. Kids will be more engaged if they get to enjoy the space where the garden is. Just make sure you set some rules to protect the plants and make sure your kids stay safe. If you need to add mulch, it is a cleaner alternative to playing with dirt.
Don’t Force It
Since gardening does require work, it’s easy for it to quickly become a chore. If you push your kids to get out in the garden too much, they might end up seeing it as a punishment rather than something fun to do. You want your child to enjoy their time in the garden. When talking to your kids about the work that needs to be done, remind them why they enjoy it. Talk about the results they’ll see eventually after they’ve put in the work. Always talk about it in a positive light rather than treating it like a chore. Of course, at the same time you should still be encouraging responsibility. Just make it their choice to engage. This can lead to an important lesson. Gardening with your kids can also be a lesson to you. Be aware of common gardening mistakes with kids to help you maintain a fun environment that doesn’t discourage their involvement.
Get Them Tools
Kids will be more likely to want to garden if they have their very own tools. This can make them feel more grown up and responsible. They might be encouraged to work harder and longer since they are equipped with their own tools. Additionally, adult tools can be too big for them to manage so kid tools are a good idea anyway.
Give Them Their Own Space
Another way to engage your kids in gardening is by giving them their own plot. This is an area where they can talk full ownership and get creative. By having their own space where they receive minimal help, they can really begin to learn. This space gives them the opportunity to make mistakes and to learn from them. It also allows them to physically see their own progress. Make sure you emphasize that this is their spot. You can even designate it with a border or a sign. The simple fact of it being theirs will help increase their engagement.
Make Plant Markers
When plants are still new, you often need markers to help you remember which plant is which. A fun activity to do with your kids is to make homemade plant markers. Give your child the opportunity to get creative as they make the markers. You can make markers out of popsicle sticks, rocks, or even miscellaneous items you can decorate. Let your child pick the theme for all the markers and let them do a lot of the work. The more involved in the process they are, the more excited they will be to keep working.
Remember to Encourage
Children need positive reinforcement. They especially need this to keep them engaged in activities. Again, gardening can involve some hard work which may discourage your kids. Make sure you praise the work they have done. Let them know you are proud of their progress. To further this encouragement, you could even consider using a chart to measure what they’ve done. For example, the chart could measure how high the plants have gotten or how many flowers/fruits/vegetables the plants have produced. Displaying this chart, and displaying their progress, can help them feel more proud of what they’ve done and they’ll be encouraged to keep doing it.
Getting your kids involved in gardening is a great way to teach them new skills and help further their development. Of course, it’s not always easy encouraging them to come work outside with you. There are many ways to get your kids involved, so find some methods that work for you and get your family garden going.
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