Tips and advice for gardening with kids

Want to get your kids involved in gardening? Here are some ideas on how to get them started

Looking for ideas and suggestions on how to get your children interested in gardening? Here are some fun and easy ways to jumpstart the process and get your children eager and excited to get their hands dirty.

  • For very young children, assign a simple gardening task he or she finds enjoyable (carrying the watering can, pulling weeds, filling the compost bin). Explain how important this job is to the life of the garden.
  • Fill the garden with animal statues, windchimes, stepping stones, and other interesting features that give the space a storybook feel. Your kids will have fun pretending that rabbit figurine peering out from behind the bush is really Peter Rabbit trying to make a break for it!
  • Plant a butterfly bush to attract Monarchs and other butterflies into the garden.
  • A fun rainy day activity, make laminated plant identification labels (especially handy for herb and vegetable gardens). Young children can simply draw pictures while older kids look up the plant’s formal Latin name.   
  • Getting a late start on the growing season? Stick with annual flowers (impatiens, marigold, etc.) that are ready to plant. By July, most gardens offer annuals at a deep discount and first time family gardeners can practice with a wide variety of plants for not much cost.

More kid-friendly gardening tips provided by by Ahmed Hassan, host of DIY Network’s “Yard Crashers”:

  • Purchase gardening tools specially sized for children. Outfit them with their own small gloves, personal water bottle and sun hat. 
  • Spreading bark is a fun activity. Give your kids their own bucket to work with, and they’ll stay interested for a longer period of time.
  • Watering on warm or hot days usually turns into getting soaked with the water hose. Have your kids put on their bathing suit and have them meet you in the garden for some watering fun.
  • Be sure to have hose end nozzles that emit water gently so the kids don’t blast away all of the plants or soil while watering.  
  • Discuss the dangers involved in working with tools and around thorns on plants.  Many plant parts are poisonous if ingested so remember to tell them “No eating plants and be sure to wash up when you’re done!”
  • Buy them their very own little container, soil and plants so that they will have ownership of something in the garden.
  • Allow your kids to select some of the fruits and vegetables that will be planted in the yard this season. Designate an area in the garden where you can grow all of these fruits and vegetables, growing some from seed and others from already started young plants. Make sure to label every thing in the garden and enjoy your harvest all season long.
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