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How to Teach Your Kids to Love Gardening

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Gardening can be a wonderful activity for kids, with many healthy benefits! Here’s how to get them engaged in this fun and healthy pastime.

Children are naturally curious, so it should come as no surprise that the wonders of the garden can provide endless entertainment!

But gardening provides many less tangible benefits as well. From self-confidence, to responsibility, to reasoning – not to mention respect for nature – gardening can be a wonderful learning experience for kids.

Sustainable gardeners can teach kids the value of growing your own food, as well as the importance of caring for and nurturing natural ecosystems.

Being in the garden also provides fresh air, sunshine, and exercise – things that many modern children today may not get quite enough of.

Whether you’re sharing your love of gardening with your kids, grandkids, or any other little humans in your circle of influence, here are a few tips to getting kids engaged and helping them enjoy the many benefits that gardening brings!

  • Start by getting them some tools of their very own and teaching them how to care for and put them away. A small tote, gloves, a trowel and hand rake are good basic pieces. Giving them ownership will give them confidence in their own abilities and tools in their size makes the job more manageable and also safer.
  • Next, let them make some of the choices on what to plant, give them some say and watch their eyes light up. Start with things that have a higher success rate and are known to be pretty easy to grow. How satisfying those little sprouts will be and kids will be very excited about the outcome. Some plants that are fairly easy to grow are things like peas, radishes, cabbage, sunflowers, potatoes, strawberries and pumpkins. You can decide whether to start from seeds or plants. It is fun for children to see the experience from start to finish, so I like to grow almost everything from seeds.
  • Give them jobs like watering, mixing soil, weeding after you have demonstrated, planting, harvesting, fertilizing, re-potting plants, mulching, “stirring” the compost and fertilizing. Work together to plant, care for and finally harvest your bounty.
  • Finally, to keep their intention add fun little vignettes and whimsy in or near the garden. Some fun ideas are a small fairy garden tucked in among the cabbages, a pretty bird bath to attract backyard birds, a shady spot to sit and watch, fun garden markers or brightly painted gnomes.
For more on the great benefits of gardening for kids, check out the full article at Earth911.com.

 

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