5 Fun Ways to Get Kids Interested in Gardening
When I was a kid, I loved to head outside get dirty. I would dig holes, stomp in the mud, look for critters, and have a great time playing out in the garden. Kids and the outdoors are a natural fit, and it is going to be very easy to get your child excited about the fun of gardening. Listed below are five tips that get kids thrilled about heading outside for a garden adventure.
Tip #1: Pint Sized Tools
Digging holes and raking dirt are way more fun for kids when they have their own set of garden tools. Small shovels and rakes offer loads of fun for kids who may be too small to use adult sized garden implements, and the smaller tools can be found in just about any hardware store, or online at . Plus, when your child has his or her own set of tools, the gardening becomes less of a chore, and more of a fun opportunity to use the new “garden toys.”
Tip #2: Bring in the Critters
If you have kids who love bugs and other critters then gardening is the perfect place for them to explore the butterflies, ladybugs, frogs, birds, and creepy crawlies that live in the garden. Include a bird bath and frog habitats to attract entertaining critters. Want to take it a step further? Plants like dill and dandelion draw in ladybugs, while wild rose and marigold bring in butterflies. Check out Farmer Fred’s website and for a complete list of plants that will attract desirable bugs into your garden.
Tip #3: Garden Arts and Crafts
If you have a kid who loves arts and crafts, have him or her color some cute garden tags for each of the plants in the garden, keep a vibrant garden journal, or make some colorful pouches for storing seeds. Kids can also help make stick tepees for climbing vines, or help design the layout of the garden – I used to love to help draw the plan for my dad’s garden!
Tip #4: Instant Gratification
Nothing gets a child more excited about gardening that being able to enjoy the bounty that a garden can provide. Have your child help harvest vegetables, cut flowers, or plant blooming annuals so that he or she can enjoy the immediate benefits of the garden rather than just the “work” that goes into planting seeds. Meanwhile, get your child excited about planting and sprouting with the classic Lima bean experiment as detailed on the Utah Education Network website.
Tip #5: Choose Your Plants Wisely
My kids love being able to help grow something that eventually winds up on the dinner table. The look of enthusiasm and pride in their eyes as they set the veggies out is priceless! Children also like the unusual, so anytime you have the opportunity to plant strange looking plants, kids will almost always gravitate towards them. Last, but not least, one of my favorite things to do in the garden when I was a kid was to hide under the huge tomato and bush bean plants – It was like having my own, organic fort! So, if you can, try to put in a few “fort” plantings for your kids. Just make sure, with any of the plants that you put in your garden, that they are non-toxic.