Gardening with Kids - How to Make it Fun and Easy
Have fun exploring planting and harvesting hands-on with easy gardening activities. Gardening with kids is a great way to enjoy some outdoor time together and kids will benefit from the fresh air and exercise while developing social and cognitive skills.
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There is something very rewarding about planting vegetables, watching them grow, and enjoying the harvest (however small!). With some good soil and a pair of gardening gloves you'll be amazed at what you and the kids can produce!
Gardening with kids
There are lots of ways to garden with kids: plant seeds in a tilled area in the yard; plant seeds indoors; plant seeds in deck pots. The project will depend on the time and space available to introduce the activity to your family.
You can start with plant pots to make gardening fun and easy.
Why use plant pots?
Setting plant pots on a deck or patio is a great option for getting kids involved in gardening.
- Plant pots provide a garden at home or at school when space isn't available to dig in the ground.
- Plant pots require little maintenance, including no weeding!
- Medium-sized pots are easy to fill with soil and won't be too heavy to move around the deck if necessary. Try a variety of sizes and shapes to see what works best for the plants you choose.
Choosing seeds and plants is part of the fun.
Ask for advice at your local nursery or home store for plants that do well in pots for the planting season in your area. Here are a few that we've had some success with.
Lettuce and beans were grown from seeds. Bean seeds are a nice size for small fingers to handle - making them easy to plant - and they sprout within a few days.
Cherry tomatoes were bought as plants. The produce is easy for small fingers to grasp when ready to be picked.
Lettuce seeds were planted in a long, shallow, plastic container. They can be planted two weeks apart, one row down each side of the container, so different stages of growth can be observed.
Cucumber and tomato plants were bought at a home store. We do not have a long growing season and these plants do well and have a good yield for deck planters.
It's time to dig in the dirt.
Assign a small plant pot to each child, labeled with the child's name and contents.
Have some kid-sized gardening tools and gloves available.
Kids can fill their pots with soil, add a few bean seeds, then help water and fertilize their plants as recommended.
Get advice from your local home store or nursery when purchasing soil and fertilizer.
Watch the veggies grow.
Cucumber: Look closely at the yellow flower to see a cucumber emerge. Observe how the cucumber plant grows along the deck (or ground) as opposed to the tomato plant which grows upward and needs to be supported.
Green bean: Watch the beans nearly topple the plants over as they droop from slender stems. Examine the tiny buds where new beans will grow.
Lettuce: Feel and smell the smooth lettuce leaves. Snip some lettuce leaves out of the planter and take them inside to wash and lay flat to dry. Then taste!
Tomato: Peer inside the tomato foliage to see cherry tomatoes ripen on the vine. When some of the tomatoes are just turning orange, take them inside and wrap them in a soft cloth or brown paper to ripen.
Enjoy the harvest!
Pick, and wash. veggies to taste at home or at school!
There's lots of fun and learning going on in the garden.
- Gardening provides lots of opportunities for kids make observations, use fine motor skills, and exercise patience as they plant, nurture, and harvest their crops.
- Kids use language and cognitive skills as they discuss their gardening activities during circle time at school or with family and friends at home.
- Planting and harvesting help us understand food sources, and the importance of caring for the environment.
So pull on a pair of gardening gloves and prepare to be amazed at what you and the kids will produce! Happy gardening!