“I’m bored! I don’t have anything to do.” Have you heard that yet at your house? It is the traditional summer battle cry of children.
Starting a gardening project with your kids or grandkids is a great idea for a summer activity.
Even if you do not have a green thumb, there are plenty of resources available to help your project blossom!
Here are some tips for creating a great planting and a wonderful opportunity to grow closer with your kids.
First, make it simple. This is no time to decide to plant the “back 40.” Make it easy and choose a location with your young partners that is accessible. Involve them in the planning and let them assume care and maintenance responsibilities.
You as the grownup should facilitate and show how-to’s - but not do everything. Let the youngsters take ownership.
Involve the kid(s) in the site selection process so they understand how important the light, soil, drainage and other environmental factors are to having a garden. Developing a container garden can be a perfect starter project. Choose plant suitable for your location and lighting and climate, so you are not “working against nature.”
Focus on function, not necessarily how it looks. Don’t be hung up on perfection. You want this to be fun. Remember that a child’s sense of what is pretty may not be yours. That is okay because the garden is the child’s space. Also be comfortable with dirt. Kids are washable. Let them get dirty. Be realistic. Sometimes you are going to run into some creepy crawlies. Children aren’t naturally afraid of things that crawl and creep.
They learn these attitudes from adults. Don’t pass on your aversion to a critter. Worms, caterpillars, grubs, insects, spiders and other creatures may sometimes show up in your garden as part of the ecosystem. Let your kids form their own opinions about these critters.
Create a clean healthy garden site. Say no to chemicals. You are working with kids, after all. Start them off right, particularly, if you are growing things to eat. Growing vegetables is a great way to encourage kids to eat more veggies. Children are much more willing to try out fresh fruits and vegetables that they have grown. In fact, they often will try things that they never have eaten before because they have tended the plants as they were growing. Since 60 percent of kids today don’t eat enough fruits and veggies, gardening together is a perfect way to expand a child’s food palate.
Whatever project that you choose to do, remember to keep it fun and kid-focused. Gardening can be a powerful experience for kids - and adults, too. I have had plenty - adults call me and text me to share news of their first tomato turning red or their first apple growing. Let kids enjoy that wonder for themselves. These days kids spend less and less time outside enjoying and interacting with nature. Gardening with kids is a wonderful way to develop future stewards for our environment. Also, growing plants develops a nurturing instinct that all people young and old can benefit from having and our world benefits, too. One final thing, gardening together can create a special bond between you that can grow as your child or grandchild grows. Don’t miss that kind of opportunity for you and the children in your life! They grow up sooo fast … even though summer vacations can seem to last forever some days.
For more healthy environment ideas for you and your family, contact Keep Liberty Beautiful at 880 4888 or firstname.lastname@example.org.