This is such a good and practical blog by Mirela Boston about hanging out with your children in the garden. It makes me want to want to take my grandkids outside and plant something pretty and tropical.
Get Those Little Hands Dirty: Gardening with Your Children
Young children are naturally curious at heart. That is, they like to learn by doing rather than seeing things, and many, if not most kids just simply love to play in the dirt. When you are working in your garden with your child, you too can experience the innate satisfaction that almost always comes from caring for something. Together, you and your kids can observe the cycle of life firsthand. This can prove to be an incredibly magical and joyous time for both of you.
Gardening gives even very young children the chance and opportunity to learn a very valuable and important life skill. A skill that is often overlooked in the usual standard school curriculums. As a matter of fact, gardening is also a wonderful way to try and teach environmental awareness to the young ones by helping them explore mother nature and its inner workings. Let us see how you can get their little hands dirty safely and securely so that they cherish nature forever:
- Engage all of their senses
It would be a great idea to give children the opportunity to describe precisely what they smell, hear, see, feel, and taste in your garden. For example:
The delectable fragrance of jasmine and the heady scent of roses in full bloom will be sure to inspire them and make them keep coming back to the garden again and again
Get them to touch soft flowers and plants such as Lamb’s Ear and Tulips (make sure they don’t come in contact with the thorns, violets, and other soft flowers and plants.
Take them into the garden on a windy day so that they can hear the leaves going ‘wisha wisha’ in the breeze.
Help them grow a few fruits and vegetables. Not only will they be eating fresh and healthy, but they will also learn to appreciate where such natural foods come from.
Give your budding young gardeners a clipboard as well as some paper and crayons. Then tell them to draw whatever it is that catches their fancy. This will also brush up their coloring skills as well.
- Encourage them to move around
From squatting and sitting close to a tiny seedling all the way to walking down a narrow garden path, your little home garden is a wonderful place to practice their motor skills. When the little ones transition between activities, you can have them flap around like butterflies and also walk like miniature ladybugs. You can also get them to hop like grasshoppers as they go to their very next destination.
- Turn them into little explorers
A garden is an exciting place for the little ones. They can become explorers as well as pint-sized farmers too. It would be a great idea to let the smallest ones do the most fun jobs if you are really interested in getting them all excited about growing stuff. This can include planting seeds and watching them grow bigger and also harvesting them. You can also get them to taste a couple of fruits and veggies so they know that all of that hard work was well spent.
You can also help them ‘discover’ caterpillars and worms. However, it would be well worth your while to leave all of the really hard work to the grownups. Albeit, having said that, kids love weeding. They get a kick out of ripping out all those icky bad plants to save all the good ones that bear fruits, veggies, and flowers. Once you get them hooked onto wedding, they will be more than eager to do the job again.
- Create a fun indoor garden
If you don’t have a large garden attached to your property, you can do the needful and engage in indoor gardening with the help of grow lights that will help your delicate little plants to flourish. This holds particularly true if sunlight is missing. You can use grow lights as a substitute for natural sunlight.
There are very few things you can teach your kids that are as joyful as the love of gardening. If done right, it will envelop all their senses and make them appreciate nature for the rest of their lives.