Gardening is a fantastic hobby, for both adults and children alike! Not only can it be super satisfying to see the results of your hard work (and sometimes eat them too), but it’s also an opportunity to get out amongst the fresh air and nature.
Getting kids into gardening is one way to establish a beautiful hobby that the whole family can be part of, and spring is a great time to begin the tradition. Read on to learn about 10 helpful tips that you can try to get your kids excited about gardening!
1. Pick plants that grow quickly
We all know kids can be a little impatient at times (just like us adults!), so it can be helpful to choose plants that grow quickly, as this will mean they can see the fruits of their labour (excuse the pun), fast. Some plants that grow quickly include sunflowers, nasturtiums, marigolds, beans, herbs like basil and chives - and many more!
2. Make them their own gardening basket
Having a dedicated basket filled with items specifically for them can show your kids that their help is valued and important. It's easy to find gardening items for kids, which can include items like children-sized gloves, shovels, trowels, watering cans, and a few of their favourite seeds.
3. Grow hard-to-kill plants
Easy-to-grow, resilient plants are a great choice for gardening with children as they offer an opportunity to begin the hobby with (hopefully) less disappointment from dying plants. Some hardy plants that are great to grow with kids include leafy greens such as lettuce and silverbeet, beans, spring onions, tomatoes and snowpeas. Hardy herbs can be a great choice too, try chives, mint or sage.
4. Introduce craft
Lots of kids love to do craft, so combining craft activities with gardening can be a great way to show another fun and creative aspect of gardening. Some great outdoor craft activities can include painting pots or creating cute signs to label the plants that you have chosen to grow.
5. Plant veggies and fruits that they enjoy
Growing edible plants can be a great way to show kids the importance of plants in our lives. By planting fruits and veggies kids enjoy eating, it helps to get them excited about picking and incorporating them into meals, which can in-turn make kids more excited about fruits and veggies! Strawberries, cherry tomatoes, blueberries, carrots and beans are always a great choice that kids tend to enjoy picking and eating - often before they make it indoors!
6. Grow bright and colourful flowers
Colourful flowers can brighten up a garden, but they can also be a great way to show kids how beautiful plants can be. Great choices for colourful, easy-to-grow flowers are marigolds, lavender, cornflowers and sunflowers.
7. Make it a team effort
Gardening together can provide an opportunity for quality time and bonding experiences. Getting out into the garden alongside your kids can make for some beautiful memories that the whole family can be part of. It also means you can tackle the bigger jobs, while they handle the easier ones. Kids often learn through watching their parents and siblings, and we all know many hands make light work (maybe they could even pull a few weeds while they're out there...BONUS!)
8. Make it educational and FUN
Joining your kids in the garden can be a good chance to educate them about topics such as healthy food choices, the importance of bees, the life cycle of plants, and much more, while in a fun setting. There are lots of topics that can be discussed while gardening to help teach your children more about the world around them. Kids love to experiment and play, so introducing little games is a great way for them to enjoy learning new things. Try counting how many different bugs they can spot in a flower bed, or letting them dig their hands into the dirt while you talk about why plants need healthy soil to grow properly. Let them paint a water dish for bees and help to build an insect hotel, while you explain the importance of diversity in the garden. The list of fun garden activities is as endless as your imagination!
9. Show them some fun gardening books and videos
There are many children’s books about gardening, and reading through some with your kids can help get them excited about doing the gardening themselves! You could also watch fun and educational tv shows or online kids videos created about gardening, together.
10. Give them plenty of choice
Make sure you involve your kids in decision-making when it comes to gardening. Ask them which flowers they would like to grow or which tasks they would like to be part of. It's a great opportunity to take a step back, let your child take the lead and gently guide them when needed. Remember that mistakes are how we improve as gardeners! When they are smaller, it can be as simple as offering them a choice of two options, but as they get older, they can make bigger decisions and be more hands on.
Showing kids the fun of gardening can be a rewarding experience for everyone involved. As your children grow, they will be able to take on more gardening tasks, and further develop their skills. It's important to remember gardening should be about enjoyment over perfection.
We hope these tips help you to build a fun and rewarding hobby your whole family can enjoy!
“However many years she lived, Mary always felt that 'she should never forget that first morning when her garden began to grow'.” ― Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden