Learning in the outdoors is great for a child’s physical and mental wellbeing and development. Gardening is also proven to enhance focus memory and builds a sense of confidence. You’re teaching them how to grow, how to nurture and how to be resourceful. Plus, it gets kids away from screens. Here are some fun ways to get the kids into a green and growing frame of mind to nurture their inner creativity and joy for growing.
Become nature’s best friend
First, let’s go shopping! Your nearest Plant Life Balance-accredited nursery is the best place to start. We love tomatoes, peas and pansies as they’re easy to maintain and great for beginners. You can choose seeds or seedlings but don’t forget to also grab some soil/potting mix, fertiliser (or get a worm farm) mulch to protect the soil, and some kid-friendly tools like gloves, fork and spade.
Kids need to feel involved in the process of gardening, so taking them to the nursery, making sure they have their own tools, and getting their hands in the dirt are all really important to show them what to do.
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Seed Planting with Kids 🌱 Did you know that generally seeds like to be planted at a depth twice the size of the seed? In my experience, when you ask a child to plant a seed, it doesn’t always go according to plan. Kids love digging so in their enthusiasm they can often plant the seed too deep. The other thing I see often is children just shoving a seed into the dirt, leaving the poor thing half sticking out and nowhere near buried enough. For this reason we use a pop stick to measure before we plant. We make a mark at the length of the seed, then another mark to indicate two lengths, which is the depth we want our hole to be. Swipe across to the third pic to see Mr 6 using this technique. It’s a great way for kids to understand exactly the best depth to plant their seed, especially younger ones who may not be as skilled at estimation, or who are over-enthusiastic diggers 🙈
Get your plant on
Now that you’ve got everything you need, it’s time to choose a place to plant your garden. Keep the kids involved with this process so they understand why it’s important to have a dedicated spot. Whether you’re planting in the ground or in pots, your new plant babies will need lots of sun so find somewhere north-facing if possible.
If you’re using pots, start by adding soil into the base of the pot and gently placing your evenly spaced plants inside. Get crafty by adding some decorations with pebbles or create labels to identify your plants. Make sure to water your new plant pals to help them settle into their new environment. Add mulch afterwards to help them retain moisture in the summer months.
Watering and feeding
Watering isn’t just essential to help the plant get settled, it needs water to thrive. Work out a routine for watering the plants and get your kids to share the responsibility. It’s not hard to care for plants but it does take some commitment, show them how to do it.
You’ll also need to fertilise the plants from time to time – what’s important is to make sure they understand it’s plant food, not human food. Speaking of, worm juice makes excellent fertiliser, so get a worm farm and you can teach your kids about re-use and biodiversity while you’re at it.
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We are in the “it’s the end of summer – find any way to mix things up stage.” Today, to make things more exciting, we put on swim suits and took the sprinkler TO the garden and played with it there, while crossing watering off our list….and it totally worked. Now just to figure out what we are going to do with our day tomorrow…. 😂 That is, until my mod mates are back in town for a mini reunion 😏😍 #emmetjames #emmetandhenry #henrydavidgaeddert #letthembelittle #smallbutmighty #candidchildhood #candidmotherhood #motherhood #motherhoodrising #momswithcameras #childhoodrising #gardeningwithkids #sandcreekcommunitygarden #gardening
Waiting, watching, growing
Now come the real lessons – patience, a sense of accomplishment and confidence when plants grow. Make sure to take your kids out into the yard regularly to check on the progress. While you’re waiting, set up a teepee full of cushions for the ultimate backyard chill out zone – or if you’re feeling wild, create a backyard obstacle course.
Feeding kids fruit and veggies straight out of the ground (give them a little wash) shows kids just how good fresh food is. If you plant plants at different times of the year, you can show your kids how easy it is to grow your own food and flowers all year ‘round.
And there you have it! The ultimate child-friendly garden both you and little one(s) will be proud to look after.