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Getting your kids involved in gardening from a young age

Would you like to get your children involved in your garden as well as setting a routine they will have fun with? Many parents enjoy gardening but are not sure how to get their children involved sometimes because they do not have enough information to know where or how to begin. Other times, because they run out of ideas of how to engage their little ones in day-to-day activities. No worries! In this article, we will share three steps to get your children started.

According to a Michigan State University study conducted in 2017, gardening provides children with the perfect combination of skills and tasks to help their development. Besides being a great physical activity, gardening can create an opportunity for children to practice their locomotive, body management and object control skills. Some gardening tools can also refine some fine motor skills that can be used in writing. Research also shows that children are more willing to try new foods that they have grown in the garden, so if you have a picky eater at home, you might want to give gardening a new try. As if that was not enough, gardens are a way to explore and develop literacy skills.

Are you convinced yet? Here are a few tips for you to take today with your children. It does not matter if you have a large backyard, a small balcony or a kitchen counter; there is always a way to get children’s interest going.

Step 1: Set up for a win

Make sure you plan what you will propose to your children in advance. Choose an area that is well lit and easy for the little ones to access and care for their plants. You want your children to decide what they will grow, but curate a selection of children-friendly and sensory plants beforehand. And don’t forget to incorporate a quick plant check-in into your routine.

Step 2: Ownership

Experts agree that children need to have their own little place of gardening. Nothing big or fancy; you want your kids to be stimulated to take care of something that is theirs. You will not have to worry about jeopardizing your esteemed garden in the process on the plus side. The secret? Start small. Give your children a section of your area or even one or a few pots.

Step 3: Give the children some space

It’s important to relax and let the children explore and take risks. You are their source of support and encouragement, but be aware not to frustrate your kids. So, relax, take a step back and let your kids call the cards. It is okay if things don’t go according to plan!

As Susan Austin, from Minigarden America, says, “No matter what their age, resist the urge to care for plants that are in your kids’ plots or modules. However, if your kids are very young (say, younger than five or six), a little backseat gardening is okay”.

Is the weather too cold to get growing outside?

Create a mini-garden and grow indoors. Do not miss the chance to show your kids how fun and rewarding planting can be. Start with a few different herbs or microgreens – you can teach them how to incorporate the harvest in their food and have fun cooking.

Is gardening with children something you are interested in? We are planning a new resource for you for the spring of 2021. Subscribe to our newsletter to know more about how you can integrate urban agriculture into your life. Let us know more in the comments below or send us an email at social.harvest@crcrr.org.

e-Resources:

Want to read more about how to get your children’s hands dirty? Here are a few articles we found online that will give you more perspective and ideas:

https://journeywithjill.net/gardening/2018/05/29/ideas-to-get-kids-involved-in-the-garden/

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/jul/04/gardens-how-to-get-children-gardening

https://us.minigarden.net/8-gardening-activities-for-a-rainy-day/

https://www.hgtv.com/outdoors/gardens/planting-and-maintenance/how-to-get-kids-to-enjoy-gardening

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/HealthyLiving/gardening-for-children

https://us.minigarden.net/11-plants-any-kid-can-grow/

References: https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/gardening_with_young_children_helps_their_development

https://us.minigarden.net/how-to-get-your-kids-interested-in-gardening/

 

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