Starting a children’s garden can be one of the most fun and (secretly) educational tasks to do with your kids this spring. I’ve already shared life skills kids can learn through gardening, and this is just an added perk. Even if you’re used to having a “family” garden each year, consider giving your kids their own space for a dedicated children’s garden. Here’s how!
5 Tips for Starting a Children’s Garden
Involve your children from the beginning.
Since this will be their garden, it’s a good idea to get their input from the beginning. As hard as it may be to want to take over and make sure they succeed, it truly needs to be their “baby.” After all, this is how kids can genuinely learn about the gardening process and all that goes into making it successful.
Let them choose what to grow.
Take a trip to the store or have a look through a seed magazine and have them pick out a few things they’d like to plant and grow. Now is also a great time to have a talk about things that grow back yearly, plants that compliment one another, and the length of time a plant will yield produce. If your kids are new to gardening, you may want to consider having a list of (easy) plants that children can grow to help the process be less overwhelming.
Get them a set of gardening tools.
Of course these will need to be age-appropriate, but having a few things on hand can make the process all the more real. This is one of those times that you’ll want to skip over the pretty hot colored tools made for sandboxes and opt in for a few good sturdy gardening tools. A few to consider purchasing are:
- a good-fitting pair of gloves
- a spade in a size that they can manage
- a sturdy garden fork (for weeding)
A good rule of them to remember is the larger the child, the larger and more useful the tool should be. This will also increase their individual responsibility and (should) boost their desire to actively participate in the establishment of their children’s garden.
Choose a place for the children’s garden.
Since this will be for the kids, don’t worry about giving them a huge space. In fact, it may be a good idea to help do most of the planning of this part for them. Older children may understand that a lot of space is not needed; however, the heart, mind, and emotions of a younger child may want to use the entire back yard. Remind them of the few plants they’re starting out with and consider showing pictures of other children’s gardens.
If space is an overall issue, consider doing a raised garden or using buckets and bins for growing the selected plants.
Let the planting fun begin.
At this point you and your children are ready to officially start the children’s garden. Gather everything purchased, set up a plan, and let the planting fun begin. A few extra things to consider are setting boundaries and responsibilities – especially depending on your kids’ age. You could give them the biggest responsibility of all and say, “This is your garden. If it doesn’t get tending to, it won’t get done!” Or you could take on some of the responsibility with them to make ensure at least something sprouts.
Don’t forget to document the process and take lots of pictures. Make it extra educational by giving your child a gardening journal so they can keep up with what is growing, how it’s doing, and to document the fruit of their labor. Also encourage them to nurture and decorate it with gardening stones or even a cute little gate. The possibilities are endless!
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