We look forward to the time of year when we can start getting our seed packets out and organized. The kids love gardening. In general they like that they can get dirty and I actually encourage it. In the early spring we like to get certain seeds started indoors. The kids look forward to it because they get to dig in the dirt and it isn’t frozen solid. When the weather starts to warm up a little more than we like to start planting the rest of the seeds outside. I want to share some of my tips and tricks to having fun while gardening with your kids. I have said before but we are a homeschooling family so I take every opportunity I can to try to teach them something even if it is very informal.
Tip 1: Get ready to have some messy kids. Between digging in the dirt and then watering the dirt this can become a mud mess (to me that is the best part) but for some not so much. We always have a “cleaning station” set up so that when we are all done before we go in the house we can clean off muddy feet and hands. I usually just put some old towels and a bucket of sudsy water with a old rag in it. Then I have the kids stand in it while I wash their feet and then dry them off. They love it to because who doesn’t like the idea of getting bubbles everywhere.
Tip 2: Make sure to have a plan in mind. I like to organize my seeds since some will be started inside and some will be directly seeded into the soil. I also like to have the kids help me lay out what seeds are going where and putting them in the appropriate row etc. Since this day usually ends with a hose squirting contest I like to accomplish what needs done first.
Tip 3: Plant what you are going to eat (if you are planting an edible garden). BK (before kids) I would plant all of these lovely vegetables that my husband and I would eat. Then came kids and sometimes picky eating habits so now I plant things that I know are a hit and then occasionally add some extras since I can sometimes get them to try it since they helped create it and that is neat to them.
Tip 4: Incorporate a fun little science experiment while you are at it. The kids love learning about how things grow from such a tiny seed. It is also fun for them to imagine when it will start to sprout out of the ground. They love when we start seeds inside because they can watch them form from out of egg cartons. We also do fun measurements and “observations” of what we think will happen next and what won’t. Since gardening to our family at least is a learning curve, it is nice that the more they do this the better they will get at it.
Tip 5: As I had said in my last blog Plant for the Future . I do believe that when we are planting we are planting for the future. The small things we do now can make a big difference down the line. Think about yes we will plant this flower now but in a few years it will become something even more wonderful.
Tip 6: Composting fun. We compost and reuse a lot in our home. It is fun for the kids to put kitchen scraps into a bowl and than at the end of the day take it outside to our compost pile. When are compost is ready to be spread around our gardens and planting containers filled with it the kids love finding the worms and making sure “they have a good home” in the new area. Composting is a great skill to pass on to the next generation since it is great for the Earth and your gardens.
Tip 7: If all else fails and all the planning ends up being nothing but a garden full off weeds, crops not growing right, loosing plants etc just remember that you and your kids had fun in the process. There is always next year with more new ideas.