This is a guest post from Sara Dawkins.
Getting children interested in gardening starts with making it fun. Instead of focusing on the hard work and heavy lifting, start out with some fun stuff to get kids enthusiastic. Here are a few tips.
Choose Fast Plants
One of the biggest obstacles for kids and gardens is the time it takes to let something grow. That’s why it is a good idea to start out with fast-growing plants like beans, which are often one of children’s favorites. Herbs and sunflowers also grow fast, rewarding children quickly for their hard work.
If a long-term garden is in the works, and you have to room, a great way to encourage children is to pick large varieties of vegetables. Huge pumpkins and watermelons, towering sunflowers, and tomatoes bigger than their heads will wow kids. Big foods and big gardens can impress upon them that their hard work pays off.
Grow Fun Food
Have them choose the food they’ll grow and care for. Maybe the kids love peas or strawberries. When it comes time to harvest, they’ll love eating what they grew. I used to love picking blackberries as a kid and would eat more than I saved for pie! Tomatoes are another childhood favorite, and popping a ripe, homegrown cherry tomato in your mouth inspires great memories.
Do It Differently
From starting plants in a bag so that kids can see the seed start to grow to using an eggshell for a pot, there are many ways to make gardening fun for kids. You just have to think outside the box! Try this method of turning toilet paper tubes into seed pots.
Try not to be overly practical with a child’s first garden. If they love flowers, let them plant nothing but flowers. If they like plants that smell, let them grow herbs. If they just want to eat, grow fruits and vegetables. Getting the child interested in the final product is key.
As children become more familiar with gardening, you may be able to guide them into more rational crop choices. But for now let them enjoy their garden!
About the Author: With a degree in Early Childhood Education, Sara Dawkins works as a nanny and freelance writer. She is a frequent contributor to Nanny Pro.