Getting your kids into the garden is not always the easiest thing to do. Screens and air conditioning make the inside seem a lot more appealing than the outside.
You probably already know the benefits of time spent in the yard and away from the couch, but how do we help our kids understand them?
Aside from the hydroponics for kids guide, here are 5 of my favorite ways to get kids off the couch and into the garden.
Give Them a Reason to be Invested
This is one of the easiest and most successful ways to get kids into the garden. Children like to see that there is a point to what they are doing. If you make gardening feel like a chore, there is no chance they will want to continue. The simplest way to get them invested is the plant something they want to either eat or see grow. Is there favorite food blueberry pie? Then grow blueberries. What about french fries? Obviously, you can grow potatoes. You could also look up pictures of awesome plants that look really cool (like an osiria rose) and have them grow their favorite ones.
Now your kids have an incentive to go outside. Yes, the incentive may be french fries, but what kid isn’t motivated by delicious food?
Give Them Responsibility
Another easy idea! Take your kid to your local garden center and have them pick out their favorite plant. It might be just a simple flower, but it is going to be something they feel ownership of. Let them name it, plant it, and care for it. When they feel attached to the plant, and feel responsible for it, they will want to take care of it and see it flourish. This is similar to getting a small pet except it is usually much cheaper, and you can get a lot of them.
Grow A Plant From Seed With Them
If a child doesn’t understand how plants work, it will be harder for them to understand why they take so much work and why it is worth it. One way to help them learn about plants is to start from the beginning. Grow seeds in small cups of dirt or paper towels in your house. Let them see what happens to a seed when they take care of it. Once it starts to grow you can move it to your garden. Hopefully, they will want to follow it’s progress.
You can spend as much time as you want to teach them how the plant works the benefits of having it in the garden. They are learning a new hobby and learning about plant growth all at the same time. Parenting.com has some great project ideas for this, including starting a garden in a glove!
Make it a Competition
This one may seem a little corny, but it definitely works. Have a friendly competition between yourself and your child or between siblings. Choose a plant that produces something that can be easily measured like peppers, tomatoes, or other vegetables. Give them the supplies they need as well as any help they need. Offer a reward to the winner. It could be as simple as a trip to get ice cream or their favorite treat.
I would recommend small victories or competitions along the way to help keep them interested because the process of growing plants can take longer that the child can stay interested. Feel free to put a personal twist on these competitions and make it a family affair.
Create a Schedule
Routine is very important to kids. If they know that part of the morning routine involves going out to water plants, or even just check on them, then it will become a normal part of their day. Make sure that as you add it to their routine you are showing excitement and enthusiasm. They need to know that it is not a chore that they should be annoyed at, but it is a great opportunity to see the progress from their hard work.
A daily walk in the yard to water the plants, check the plant’s growth, and even look for garden visitors, will add a fun part to your kid’s schedule. Soon they will be looking forward to the quality time they are getting with the plants and with their parent.
Gardening is Fun!
Remember that gardening is fun! If you don’t show them you enjoy it, neither will they. We want to build great habits and help them discover a great new hobby. You get to spend quality time with them and learn more about how they think and develop. They get to learn about responsibility and the rewards of hard work. All this while spending time outside with people they love!
Let us know your favorite way to spend time in the garden with your kids and what they enjoy the most!
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