Passing the love of gardening on to the next generation.
My 3-year old niece came tearing into gramma’s house the other day screaming, with delight, “My plants are growing, Gramma! My plants are growing!!”. She was so excited she could barely contain herself. She kept running around the house in circles, absolutely over the moon that “her” plants had grown.
It was one of those moments that, as a 5th generation member of a family whose business it is to help gardens thrive, made we wonder…how do we get kids to have this kind of love for gardening at such a young age? What was it that made my little niece want to jump back out into the dirt with her colorful shovel and help gramma grow her tomatoes?
We did a bit of polling among our gardening experts. Drumroll Please! It seems like there are a few ways to get the entire family gardening, and actually enjoying it, together!
Top 4 Ways to Get Your Kids to Love Gardening
Involve the kids in the planning.
Whether you are laying out an entirely new landscape design, planting a veggie garden or just refreshing a flower bed with a few annuals, let the kids be involved. If they get to select the tree you take home, or even just one small annual, they feel important. That feeling of ownership will have them more invested in the success of that plant. Plus, with their creative minds, they may pick a color or texture you would never have thought of. Sometimes a new perspective can make the landscape stand out even more beautifully.
Give them their own kid-size plot.
Let your kids plot out a bit of dirt to take care of themselves. Even if they are too little to properly plant something, they can help in small ways. Suggest they pick up little sticks or debris (leaves, etc.) that may have fallen in the garden. If they are a little older, and with a bit of direction, they can help with weeding, cutting flowers for indoor décor and harvesting when the time has come. Then, of course, for the eldest, there is the all-important mowing of the lawn.
Kids will love being part of the process from start to finish. They might even be more excited about eating the veggies they have taken such good care of throughout the season.
Kid-Size Gardening Tools
Little hands need little tools. Gardening tools that fit their hands and are easy to use will make your kids excited to get dirty. There are some really cute gardening toys out there that are light-weight, durable and actually work! Kids can truly help with digging without yielding an overly heavy shovel designed for big hands.
We love and use Melissa & Doug for our little gardeners, they make great, long-lasting products. We even started carrying them, available now in our main store. However, there are others available on the market that will work and make it fun. We’ve seen good sets at local drug stores and Target.
Everyone Loves a Challenge
Make the project a good challenge for their age, but not so overwhelming they end up unable to finish. While this is different for every family and every child, you’ll know your child’s skill level best.
Of course, there are some givens, a 3-year old won’t be able to mow the lawn and a 14-year old will likely get very bored picking up sticks. Find a project that challenges them enough to make them feel successful.
The Family That Gardens Together…
Grows together! Enjoy the side effects of spending time with your family in the garden. You will have given your kids something to be proud of while exposing them to nature, taught them where their food comes from and instilled in them a sense of accomplishment and pride. And, maybe just shortened your personal chore list a bit in the process.
Nest step? Use that extra time to cuddle up and watch a movie together before a rest-filled bedtime. Because, as we all know, physical activity helps promote deeper sleep and better rest.
Give them the gift of gardening and build their love of gardening right alongside yours.
We hope this short list triggers some ideas. We’d love to know how you get your kids involved in the garden in a fun and easy way.
As always, if you have any questions, we are here to help.
Monday – Saturday 8am-6:45pm