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Gardening With Young Children

Gardening is a highly useful, lifelong skill that can be taught to children at a young age. The benefits of sharing this work with your little one are many. It will promote good health as kids develop an appreciation and taste for fresh veggies and fruit. It will get them outside and away from the computer, giving them a chance to breathe the fresh air, use their muscles, and develop fine and gross motor skills.

Gardening helps children develop planning, execution, and follow-up capabilities. It also teaches them patience as they wait for their garden plants to grow. Finally, gardening will afford them a peaceful and meditative activity offering practical advantages that will carry them through their lifetime.

What can little kids help with around the garden? At first, you may have a hard time figuring this out. But, with a little extra thought and a dose of patience, you'll realize that gardening encompasses many tasks that are perfectly sized for little hands, arms, legs, and minds. Here are some ideas to get started teaching gardening to your young child or children.

Involve them in the planning phase. Go through the steps for creating a garden from scratch. Explain the tasks involved in preparing garden beds for the growing season. Go to Home Depot or Lowes together, and let them help you figure out which supplies you need to stock up on this spring, like organic fertilizer, gardening gloves, shovels, hoes, spades, and a garden hose.

Let little ones help you select seeds. You can give them an overview of all the different types of veggies and/or fruits you'd like to include in your garden this spring and summer. Do your kids have favorite veggie or fruit snacks or sides? Let them feel like part of the decision-making process by asking what they'd like to see come out of the garden at harvest-time. Take them to the store, or peruse your favorite seed catalog together, and have them make their selections.

Work the soil together. Of course, if it's cold out and yours is an inside child, this may be a little more difficult. But at least give your child an opportunity to go out and pitch in – and even if they're too small to help, they can get an idea of the considerable time and effort that goes into this complex, long-term project.

Plant and cultivate garden seeds together. A seed-starting kit can be an especially fun way for your preschooler or young student to be involved in the garden project. Most children are excited to plant, water, and watch their young seedlings grow. You can also show them how to direct-sow into the garden beds, and the ways different types of seeds prefer to germinate – some, lightly broadcast, and others, more deep in the ground. This phase can be a real eye opener as kids experience firsthand what it's like to bring something to life.

Have kids help with watering, and later, weeding. Even if your young children didn't share your enthusiasm for preparing, planning and starting a garden, they may be happy to help water your little sproutlings. It is fairly easy for little hands to manipulate a misting bottle (in the case of potted seedlings) as well as carry the watering can and/or hose out to the garden beds. Both of these activities will help develop gross-motor and fine motor skills, and will surely provide a fun outlet for youngsters.

Ask for helping hands at harvest-time. This is probably the most exciting part for kids. Give them a basket and teach them where the ready-to-eat produce is hiding. When finished, make an activity of washing, patting dry, and preparing a tasty salad for everyone to enjoy. Let them decide which veggies they'd like for their meal or snack, and what to dress them with. Children will develop a sense of personal pride and accomplishment as a result of their involvement, and will most likely want to sample the foods that they helped prepare.

As your child grows, he or she will likely become stronger and more able to help you tend the vegetable garden. They may even go through a phase (typically adolescence) where they show zero interest in gardening at all! Don't be deterred: the gardening skills you began teaching in early childhood will stick -- and it's highly likely that once they're grown, kids will willingly return to the pleasurable and practical activity of gardening... picking right back up where you left off!


GardenBedsNJ.com is owned by Mike Hyde and 4 Seasons Lawn Care. We build, deliver and install raised garden beds to Hunterdon and Warren Counties in NJ and Northampton County, PA.

Contact us for more information: 908 783 5733 or email mikehyde@4seasonslawns.com today!

 

 

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