Gardening with kids is a creative and fun learning experience. Our Mamacita Maryann Rodrigues shares tips to help kids engage and enjoy gardening.
I am a sucker for green spaces. Whenever the thought of designing a house of my own crosses my mind, I unfailingly imagine a lush green area to be an indispensable part of it. Be it a cozy cottage backyard or a balcony in a modest high-rise apartment, the green is sure to be seen. But for now, I have to settle for just a few clay pots cramped up in a minuscule little window area of my flat.
I remember as a little girl I would love to play in the dirt. So the garden would be my favorite spot (and it would spare me moms’ scolding for getting all messy too. So… Win-Win!). Curious that they are, children tend to learn better while doing things themselves and the garden is by far a great learning spot. The experience of seeing something grow while you nurture it with so much love and care is so gratifying.
Coming back to my green spot in the house, the few pots of small herbs and flowering plants have managed to win the attention and love of my eager little beaver in the house too. His interest in tending to the greens encourages me to do more as it makes me a happy mommy after all. So this made me give it a deeper thought into how I could fuel this interest of his and make gardening a fun thing to do for a curious little toddler.
Here are some of my exclusive tips for gardening with kids:
Daily watering job
As soon as he sees me walking up to the window with the watering can, my son just stops whatever he is at and sprints right to the window, all ready to hold the can and start watering the plants. His tiny hands do need a bit of help, but I enjoy watching him do the job. I name the plants as he goes about pouring water in the pots and he repeats. It becomes a fun memory game too!
Toddlers love pulling and plucking things out (at least mine does). And weeding is super fun! Just make sure that they pull out only the weeds and not the actual plant. Tell them why we need to remove out the grass or the unwanted plants. But also, brace yourself to answer a load of questions that will follow.
Picking dried fallen leaves
Another fun gardening activity that tiny tots can easily do whenever you want to clean your garden or just re-arrange your pots. Ask them to pick up the dried leaves fallen inside and outside the pot while you’re at it. And Oh! how happy he feels to have done such an important task when he sees the place all cleaned up.
Filling soil in the pots
Whenever I prepare a new pot for a new addition or when the soil erodes and the roots start showing, it’s time to add some mud. A messy affair it is! But this is what he loves the most because he gets to mix compost and play with dirt. His sand toys come in pretty handy for this task.
For now, he is happy doing the jobs listed above. I hope we will be able to do the below-listed tasks as and when he is ready.
Grow new plants
There is nothing like caring for life and watching it grow. Apart from the satisfaction that it leaves them with, children learn hands-on about the cycle of life from scratch when they bury a few seeds or plant a seedling in the soil.
With a bit of adult supervision and some precautionary measures like gloves and a good spray bottle, older kids can have fun with bug sprays to keep the creepy-crawly beings from destroying your vegetation.
Digging and shoveling
Gardening needs the usage of tools and equipment too. A little older child can very well learn the art of using such tools from an adult and enjoy this wonderful hobby at large.
Trimming and harvesting
Harvesting homegrown produce from your vegetable patch can be a great way to incorporate healthy eating habits in children. The thought of cooking and eating something that they have had a hand in growing can get them really excited. This again may require the use of tools like garden scissors, so adult supervision is advisable.
We might think we are nurturing our garden, but of course, it is our garden that is really nurturing us. – Jenny Uglow
When we become parents for the very first time, we give it our all to care for our offspring. We hold, feed, love, and care and make sure to keep the little one safe and secure. But if we look at it from the other side, it is the child that actually brings out the best in us when we are posed with new parenting challenges each day and new problems to solve with every passing phase.
Gardening with kids is one such activity that gives you immense joy and satisfaction when you see your efforts of nurturing and caring for something grow into beautiful flora.
Sometimes life puts us through phases that help in weeding out the negatives in life in order to keep the positives blooming. Although in a not so pleasant way, this year has definitely given most of us ample time for some introspection and self-improvisation. Be it taking up hobbies/ interests that were otherwise put at the back of the closet or stepping towards a healthy body, mind, and soul or simply spending time with family… we have mostly done it!
As I believe that this too shall pass, and when it does, I pray that we all strive to leave behind not only better and healthier earth for our beautiful children to live in, but also responsible and nature-loving children for our beautiful Mother Earth..!
What are your experiences gardening with kids? Please share it with us in the comments.