“Surely a garden is not a success if it doesn’t bring joy to children” – Edna Walling, legendary landscape designer.
One of the most joyful things you can do is spend time with children in the garden. They adore getting their fingers in the dirt and give them a watering can to water the plants, and they’ll be happy for hours.
As much as nature play is fabulous fun with children, (and oh boy, it sure is), there’s also a very cool underlying factor about gardening with kids, and that is you are creating lifetime memories and connections with nature for them. On top of that it’s a terrific way for children to form an understanding and a deeper appreciation of where their food comes from.
Don’t just make your gardening adventures together all 100% work focused tasks like planting and watering, ensure it’s also an opportunity to connect with the entire outdoor environment. Children respond very well to the smell, taste and touch of plants, so be sure to delight their senses with observations in the garden whenever possible. And ensure they get right in amongst it. More up close and personal the better. Ditto the dirtier the better. And make a point of trying to find as many birds, insects, and other components of the natural world too, which is guaranteed to bring a smile to their face. If you don’t have an established garden, it’s always a treat to go for a walk with kids in their local Botanic gardens.
Which garden activities you choose to do with children is always dependent upon what age the child is. Choose something that they will enjoy and gravitate towards (e.g. worm farms are great fun with children as they are constantly fascinated by the wriggly little critters). Remember that children sometimes get challenged by activities that are too detailed: simpler the better for the littlies in the garden. And short ten minute activities rather than hours at a time will ensure they benefit from it and don’t wander off distracted or not engaged with the task.
If introducing your Little Ones to vegetable gardening by seed choose a crop that will grow very quickly like radish and lettuce which pop up almost overnight. Crops like spring onions, strawberries and carrots are a perennial favourite in a child’s world. A really good way to get kids into it, is to ask them what their favourite veggie is and grow it together.
Gardening with kids : a truly rewarding thing to do. The results are instant on their little faces, and potentially it will get kids hooked for life on growing their own food. And what a mighty fine thing that would be.