When warmer weather rolls around, kids are known to head outdoors and play in the sand or dig in the dirt. Washing off those mystery stains is often unavoidable, so we suggest embracing the messiness – and even encouraging kids to learn a lot along the way. How, you ask? By getting them involved in a classic spring activity: gardening.
Teaching kiddos how to garden comes with a ton of benefits:
- As a hands-on and screen-free activity, gardening means being outside, staying active, breathing in the fresh air, and soaking in a whole lot of Vitamin D!
- Placing a seed in the soil and watching a plant grow introduces children to basic biology.
- Making sure the plants are watered and cared for as they grow teaches kids about patience and responsibility.
- Growing fruits and vegetables also teaches little ones about nutrition and where fresh food comes from.
- Gardening as a family means that you’ll be forming stronger bonds with children!
- And much, much more!
Whether you’re working with a backyard, a balcony, or a sunny windowsill, our first tip for you is to start small. Gardening is no easy feat for some adults, so you can imagine that it can get overwhelming for kids! We recommend giving children their own container or lil’ patch of soil – it can make the process more manageable and can help mini gardeners feel confident and independent.
Then comes one of the most exciting parts – choosing what to plant! If you’re gardening with kids for the first time, we suggest picking something that grows fairly quickly (so that they can experience the magic of gardening as soon as possible!). If you want to go down the food route, we recommend lettuce, baby carrots, radishes, or snow peas. Or if you prefer to go with flowers, then calendulas, petunias, and sunflowers are known to grow quickly too.
The next step is to gather the correct tools, such as kid-sized and tiny hands-friendly rakes, hoes, spades, watering cans, gloves, etc. Toy tip: the beach toys in our Wavy Wagon playset can double as gardening tools! And if you’re looking for more ways to infuse play into the process, you can encourage kiddos to use our toy trucks for loading, hauling or dumping soil and our Whirly Whale Sprinkler to water their plants in a fun way.
By now you chose the seeds and got the tools – what’s left is the actual gardening! Keep in mind that every plant is different and comes with its own set of guidelines in terms of planting. Make sure you’re fully informed before moving forward – not only will it contribute to the success of the experience, but knowing the steps means that you’ll be able to effectively walk children through it all. And once the seeds are tucked into the soil, kids will learn that growing plants takes time and care! Consistently monitoring, watering, and waiting for the results together can teach them about patience and responsibility.
We’ve now arrived at the final step: the big reveal! After a few weeks of constant checking, our biggest wish for you is to wake up and smell the flowers (literally) or pick colorful veggies. Cook, eat, photograph, and enjoy the fruits of your labor! You all deserve it.