Gardening is a great way to teach young kids about growth and taking responsibility for something that’s growing. It can teach them important concepts about where food comes from and what kind of food is healthiest for them to eat. It can also be a lot of fun for both kids and parents. All of those things are great, but it’s also important to realize that kids are kids, and expecting nothing but success from your first go around with gardening is a bit unrealistic. Fortunately, there are some little things you can do to get started gardening with your children.
You can start with small containers of soil, such as pots made of clay, wood, or plastic. Start with something like strawberries, which children are sure to enjoy. You can also plant herbs, flowers, or any number of vegetables.
Give them the right tools
If your kids are like mine, they love to dig in the dirt. They especially love to dig holes and bury random things. This is perfect for getting them interested in gardening. Get your kids some small gardening hand tools, like a hoe or a shovel. Show them how to dig a hole and plant some seeds in a row, even if it’s not the straightest row. You can also get some gardening gloves for your kids, but I think there’s something instinctive in kids to want to feel the dirt on their skin and under their fingernails.
Give them ownership
If you have a small garden in your yard or in a flower bed, give each of your kids a plot of space that they can call their own. They’ll know that what grows in that section is theirs, and it’s their responsibility to take care of that spot. Let them plant whatever they want, and watch their gardening spaces come to life.
When your kids start really getting into gardening, you’ll have some successes and some misses. Celebrate the successes and help your kids learn through the misses. If your kids are able to grow some plants like strawberries or tomatoes, use the opportunity to use the fruits or vegetables they’ve grown in a lunch or dinnertime meal. They’ll be excited that they were able to create part of the food they’re enjoying.