Green thumbs, big and small, rejoice! Winter is finally gone and Mother Nature has brought back the glorious season of spring and all of its blooming wonderment.
Getting your kids involved in planting a garden is a great family activity – it’s not only an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon but it’s also a terrific learning experience as well. Just wait until your plants sprout and you see how excited your children get upon seeing their tiny seedlings come to life.
So here are some fun gardening tips for little ones.
The best way to get children involved in the planting process is to choose seeds together – visit a local nursery and decide what fruits, veggies and flowers you want to start with. It’s a fantastic way to get picky eaters to experiment more – perhaps you can opt for seeds that will produce new yummy options for the dinner table in the coming months, such as beets, zucchini and snow peas (if your children grow these veggies from scratch they may just be more inclined to eat them!). Read the backs of the seed packets to determine if they’re varieties that need to be planted indoors ahead of the season or directly into the ground after the last frost. For a comprehensive book on edible plants that grow well in our climate, check out the book “The Canadian Edible Garden” from Lone Pine Publishing.
Get your hands dirty
One of the most fun gardening tips for little ones is: Get dirty! This is not going to be a “neat and tidy” activity, so don’t set your cleanliness expectations too high. Do all of your planting in a space that can get a bit messy, like the back porch or garage, and make sure you and the kids change into old clothes. Give your little planters some freedom to get down and dirty in the process. After all, it’s part of the fun of gardening!
With various supplies including pots, shovels, bags of soil, and itty bitty seeds, a planting session with more than one child can quickly turn chaotic. A fun gardening tip for little ones is to create an assembly line and assign each kid a specific task. You could have one child spooning dirt into a pot, one making holes in the dirt and dropping in the seeds, and one covering the hole and then giving it all a quick watering. Make sure that they take a turn at each of the different stations so that everyone has a hand in the entire process.