Gardening with kids gives you a whole new sense of wonder in exploring the world, because for kids, everything is still so new. They are constantly in learning mode. Gardening is a great way to get the family involved in the learning process. My own kids love plants, and being able to go and pick a ripe strawberry or using a medicinal plant to treat a cut or insect bite really gives you a sense of accomplishment. Even if your kids aren’t in love with the idea there are still ways to get them involved.
Let them help choose what you will grow.
By being involved in the decision-making process, they will feel a bit more vested in the outcome and overall process. Consider picking up one of the many books for kids on gardening – a quick search on Amazon found this one:
and this one:
Grow things they like to eat.
I wouldn’t grow something I wouldn’t eat, neither would I expect my kids to be enthusiastic about it. That said, they don’t have to like everything you grow, just enough that they are more likely to help planting and maintaining the others because there is something in it for them.
Give them an area for which to be responsible in some way.
This can be anything from a small pot or two to a corner of the garden, but this area is theirs to plant and care for. In our home, Daniel is obsessed with Brussels sprouts, he loves them. If he sees them in the store, he runs over to them and begs to have Brussels sprouts with dinner. Much to the consternation of other parents in the store who cannot seem to get their kids to eat a carrot without complaint, this boy adores Brussels sprouts. We have a few plants that survived the winter and are now beginning to flower, these are his plants. Granted, he loves all plants, but these have a special place in his heart, especially cooked in butter and garlic, and slightly caramelized.
Let them dig in the dirt.
There is something magical that happens when you get your hands in the dirt and start planting; all the stress melts away and you find a closer connection to the earth. Strengthen this connection by being a good steward, and by teaching your kids the same thing.
Which plants do your kids love growing?