To get kids involved in gardening can be a challenge. The benefits of getting your children to enjoy being in the garden can set them up with a great hobby for their whole lives. Gardening helps both body and mind and it can be a really positive outlet for kids to enjoy. It is an inexpensive way to get them involved and help them develop a love of the outside world and a set of life skills. Here’s our top five ways to get your kids involved in gardening.
1. Picking the perfect plant
Often a children’s first memorable experience in gardening comes from successfully growing plants. For kids; the stranger the better. Bright colours, interesting shapes, smells and tastes are all things you should look out for when making your choice. Another important factor is their resilience and ease of growth. Your best chance of getting your kids involved in gardening is to have a positive and fruitful first planting experience.
If easy to grow flowers are your number one priority then sunflowers, marigolds and poppies are all great choices. Once given the attention needed these bright flowers should grow with no problem.
Sensory plants are another win when it comes to involving children. Lemon balm (melissa officinalis) and chocolate cosmos (cosmos astroanguineus) are both excellent choices when it comes to getting your kids excited about the garden.
Easy fruits and veg to grow include tomatoes, cucumbers and carrots. Growing fruits and veg over flowers have the added advantage of being able to harvest and eat them after.
Whichever your choice, let the children dig their own holes for the seeds. You should supply a ruler so they know exactly how far to dig down and can take full charge. If you’re looking more indoor projects have a look at our blog on indoor gardening ideas.
2) Places to visit to get your kids involved in gardening
Every country has its unique indigenous plants and flowers to enjoy. A great way of getting to know all about these different species is through botanical gardens and educational horticulture centres. Visiting these places is a great way get your children involved in gardening through education. There are a tremendous amount of places to visit so we have compiled a shortlist of some of the best.
England: RHS gardens
The RHS garden Wisley is famous for its stunning glasshouse and woodland gardens. One thing not to miss is their extensive arboretum which includes small scale ‘model gardens’.
Ireland: The National Botanic Gardens
The national botanic gardens in Ireland boast an impressive array of glasshouses. The Great Palm House is famous for its excellence in conservation architecture.
Australia: Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney
The Royal Botanic Gardens have a magnificent location, situated on the Sydney harbour. The single most distinct landscape feature in the Garden is the historic hand-sewn sandstone seawall.
Germany: Botanischer Garten
Within the stunning Botanischer Garten is the great pavilion which is host to an array of tropical plants like giant bamboo.
America, NY: New York Botanical Gardens
The New York Botanical Gardens boast 12,000 resident plant species. If you decide to go here be sure not to miss out on their bard-inspired Shakespeare garden.
Singapore: Singapore Botanical Gardens
The Singapore Botanical Gardens offer a lush sanctuary in the heart of the city. Any orchid fans should head to their national orchid garden to experience the beautiful array of hybrids on show.
4) An independent gardener
One of the best ways to get kids involved in gardening is to give them ownership and independence. This will encourage a sense of responsibility and accomplishment in their own successes.
The first thing to do is to allow them to choose their own set of gardening tools. Brightly coloured gloves, watering cans and shovels are all great tools to bestow upon your children at the start of the project. Making sure the tools are a children-friendly size will also encourage their use.
When it comes to picking out what to grow you should guide them to our easy suggestions above but let them choose from there. They can pick the seeds that they like the most and will develop more of a vested interest in them.
Letting your kids decorate their own pots is another great way to give them a sense of ownership while letting their creative juices flow. This can be a good way to introduce gardening and get them excited.
Finally, and most importantly, relinquish part of your garden and hand it your kids for their own growing projects. A small area right in the middle with the best soil and light will ensure you’re setting them up for success. A handy tip for this is to create borders and use plant markers to avoid and future squabbles and keep gardening a pleasant experience for all.
5) Wildlife features
Setting up wildlife features are a fantastic way to not only get your kids involved in gardening, but to also help them learn about their local ecosystem. There are tonnes of simple features you can set up in no time like nest boxes, insect holes and worm studies. You can get up close and personal with these fascinating creatures and teach your kids about their importance. It’s also a good idea to show them how to handle these delicate insects with care.
If you’re kids are less than thrilled with creepy crawlies, bird feeders are another interesting way to immerse your children in nature. Feeders are easy to make and are a great addition to the garden. If you’re wondering where to start, check out our blog on bird feeding tips for beginners.
One of the simplest ways to get your kids involved in the garden is to encourage them to record drawings of what they see and grow. They can document the growth of their plants, draw trees, or even the animals that visit.
If you’re looking for something more in theme for this time of year you could make a scarecrow for the garden. The DIY network has a great how-to for making a scarecrow you can follow.
6) Enjoy the fruits of their labour
The best part for gardening for children is allowing them to enjoy the fruits of their labour. The harvest can be a family experience, getting everyone involved will add to the excitement and interest.
Carefully picking the bounty, bringing them into your home and washing them will shape the experience. Growing your own fruit and veg will also encourage healthier eating and might just get your kids to try new foods.
Gardening with kids may not always be a perfect experience every time. Chances are weeding, dying plants and bugs will not be the best part of the package. Stay positive and enjoy letting your kids be kids, muddy clothes and the occasional broken rose are a small price to pay for all the hours of enjoyment and bonding you will have by getting your kids involved with gardening.
Want to try your hand at designing your perfect garden? Try out the VR Gardens design app to bring your ideas to life here.