In the current climate we are finding that we need to become resourceful to keep ourselves and our kids entertained, fit and healthy. If you have little ones to entertain and educate, gardening is a great way to kill two birds with one stone, so to speak. It’s a great way to get them used to connecting with the earth and develop useful skills. Kids love to learn, and they often learn best through activity. As curious little beings they love to play in the dirt, and they also love to mimic what adults are doing.… so by introducing your children to gardening, it’s a win-win situation for everyone!
Tips for gardening with children
Educate them while you work
Teach your kids about the myriad different insects they see while gardening. Kids tend to be fascinated by ‘creepy crawlies’, so coming into contact with them is a great learning opportunity. Let them know that ladybirds are beneficial when you’re growing crops, since they eat the aphids that would gradually devour the crops.
You might teach them about the lifecycles of caterpillars and the transformational process they go through to become butterflies. You could also talk to them about the different bird species that visit your garden.
Make compost heaps
Teach the kids to make a compost heap in the far corner of your garden (this makes sense in case it creates any smells). Situate your compost heap on the soil or the grass, and somewhere accessible to the sunlight. Sand, bricks or gravel make a good base for it, and the kids will love to construct this.
Get them to leave little gaps for air to move freely inside, and once it’s ready, they can start adding waste items such as vegetable and fruit peels and scraps, eggshells, spoiled, rotten or mouldy fruit, leaves, cut grass, straw and sawdust.
Get them planting vegetables.
If your kids feel like they’ve had a hand in growing some of the food that ends up on their plate in months to come, they may be surprisingly enthusiastic about eating it! To keep their interest, we recommend planting easy crops that grow quickly. Here are some of our kid-friendly favourites:
- Snow peas
- Salad leaves
- Spring onions
- Runner Beans
Check this article out for details on fast-growing, easy to plant foods.
Recycle old items for landscaping
Your kids will love this idea. Help them to use their imagination and creative skills by recycling items for use in the garden. They’ll get plenty of fun from breathing new life into old items and seeing the garden transform through their creativity. Here are some simple examples:
- Paint old pallets and use them for seats, tables or platforms for growing veg or flowers
- Plant seeds and shrubs inside old tyres
- Pot plants inside old wellington boots (and paint them!)
- Recycle old jars and use them as garden lanterns with tea lights
There are plenty of items your kids will love to recycle. Here are a few more recycling ideas for the garden.
Give them serious tools
One way to get your kids into gardening is to give them some serious gardening tools. They want to feel like they’re doing a proper job, and although it might not be practical to give them bulky trowels, spades, rakes and shovels, there are efficient gardening tools available just for kids. We are betting they’re going to love these gardening tools for kids!
Made from stainless steel and RSA wood, these lightweight forks, spades, hand trowels and rakes are all your kids will need to get busy in the garden. While you demonstrate with your everyday gardening tools they’ll be following suit with their mini tool kit, which will undoubtedly make them feel like they’re a valuable player in your gardening team.
The benefits of gardening with your kids.
Gardening is not only good for them; it’s good for the environment too. While you’re teaching them to be green fingered, they’re learning useful and transferable new skills that may serve them well. When children get into gardening they develop the kind of vital life skills that are sadly missing from school curriculums all around the world, such as grounding in nature, presence and mindfulness.
While observing the cycle of life first hand they also learn important values, such as the patience and appreciation that comes with caring for something over time. This gives them a sense of achievement, and the end result is a flourishing garden for the whole family to enjoy. Gardening is also a great opportunity for helping your children to develop environmental awareness. As they start to understand the incredible ways in which nature works, they will also develop more respect for it… and hopefully a lasting affinity with it too.
We hope this article has inspired you to start gardening with your kids… and don’t forget, you may be sowing seeds in the garden, but in another respect, you’re sowing seeds in their imaginations too. Who knows what desires this may spark off? The sky is the limit – you could even be inspiring the self-sufficient permaculture aficionados of tomorrow, and the world surely needs more of that!