Gardening with kids doesn't have to be a chore! Make it fun for the whole family and teach your kids a skill they can use their whole lives! Learn how to start a garden with kids, and find a few tips to keep them having fun!
Gardening with Kids: Ideas for Fun
Gardening is one of the best ways to get the whole family outside. But, if the kiddos see tending to the garden as a chore, then it's likely they’re going to protest. The thought of pulling weeds doesn’t exactly scream “good times.”
But… there are actually plenty of ways that you can make gardening fun, and maintain healthy plant life, all at the same time. It might sound too good to be true, but I’m here to tell you, it’s not.
Keep reading for some helpful hints on what you can do to get everyone involved, and how to have fun while you’re at it. You’ll have everyone asking to help in the garden in no time!
Allow Room for Lots of Choices
Kids love control. It’s not always in a bad way, but they’re so used to being told what to do, having choices is sometimes such a novelty for them to make decisions. Below are a few gardening variables that I’ve had success with leaving open ended, so the children can have the final say.
If you’re going to be planting in pots, let the children help you source the containers you’ll be using. Here are a few things that are easy to find, and make really great planters:
- Plastic containers
- Soda bottles
What to Plant
Letting the children choose what you’ll plant is a huge way to hook their interest. Of course, you’ll have the final say, but if you have an overall idea of the direction you want to go with your plants, you’re already off to a great start.
Make a list of any plants you’d like to include in your garden, then hit the green house. My family does really well if we set a limit for the number of plants first. Then, we pick up as many of the plants as we can find while we’re shopping, and see which ones look best together.
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Another fun way to get everyone excited about picking out plants is to choose veggies or fruits that can be eaten right out of the garden. Snacking while working is a sure fire way to engage everyone in tending to the garden, but also, it’s a fantastic way to save on the grocery bill too.
If you’re not sure what kind of garden you’d like to have, but you’re sure you want one, try one of these:
- Salsa: onions, jalapenos, cilantro, tomatoes, and garlic are all staples of a good salsa, and easy to grow in most climates.
- Fairy: herbs and maybe even a few flowering plants that look magical and enchanting; you can even find little fairy herb garden accessories online.
- Rainbow: plant something for each color of the rainbow.
- Tomato Sauce: kind of like a salsa garden, only with tomato sauce ingredients that you can add to your pasta or pizza. Just swap oregano for cilantro, and bell peppers for jalapenos.
- Giving: plant things that are easy to grow in abundance, so you’ll have enough to share with friends and family, or even donate to a local food pantry.
Gardening Can Be FUN!
Nobody likes chores. Not even grown ups. I’ll put off doing laundry until the whole family is down to their last pair of underwear. Kids are no different. But, gardening doesn’t have to be full of hard work. Covering the manual labor with fun is a nearly foolproof strategy that hasn’t failed me yet.
Let Each Kid Keep a Garden Journal
Let each kiddo have their own gardening notebook, where they can track the plants progress, as well as how often they’re being watered and fertilized. They can also draw pictures of their plants, or you can even add actual photos.
Watching each plant grow is rewarding, and it reinforces those good habits that you want children to develop. If you want to up the motivation with a little friendly competition, assign each child a plant and see which one grows more.
Complete the Mundane Tasks First
Also, I’ve found that it can be helpful to get the more mundane tasks out of the way first, so that nobody has much time to think or complain. Then, by the time they realize what’s going on, it’s already time to move on to something else.
Pulling weeds seems to be the least favorite job in the garden, so we typically knock that part out first. We also set a goal each time we weed, so everyone has to do the same amount. Again, if competition is an incentive for your family, see who can pull their assigned number of weeds quicker.
Another fan favorite in my house is picking up the leaves in the yard so they don’t infiltrate the garden. And, by picking up leaves, I mean using a leaf vacuum. My kids fight over who gets to use it, so that’s a win for me.
Gardening With Kids by Interest
There’s literally something for everyone when it comes to gardening. Consider the personalities of the children that will be working with you in the garden, whether it’s your own children, a neighborhood garden, or even plants in your classroom. Then, find a way to catch everyone’s interest.
Gardening with the Fashionista
Let your little diva choose his or her own special gardening outfit. Decorating a pair of
Inexpensive rubber boots that are only to be worn in the garden was a huge motivator for my daughter.
Gardening with the Athlete
If your children love a good competition, try one of the tricks we mentioned above. My little champs love to get into the post-gardening clean up with a race to clean the garage floor after tracking dirt all over.
Gardening with the Scientist
Mixing potions and dissecting leaves is the perfect way to peak your little ones’ inner curiosity. Keep an extra set of bottles, mixing tools, and even a magnifying glass to encourage hands on investigating.
Of course, not everyone is a fan of gardening. But, with some careful planning and creative thinking, you can get your children excited to get out there and grow things, too. Gardening is such a wonderful life skill, and it’s one more thing we can do to help out Mother Nature, so starting young is key.