How To Teach Kids About Gardening For Hands-On LearningaAs parents, one of the things that you want your kids to learn is how to be patient, nurturing, and caring. If you want to be able to instill these traits in your children, one of the things you must learn is how to teach kids about gardening. If you do it correctly, children often find that gardening is fun, enjoyable, and stimulating because it sets off their natural curiosity about the world around them.
Contrary to popular belief, teaching your kids how to garden doesn’t have to be time-consuming, expensive, or complicated. Even if you only spend around 10-15 minutes per day with your kids in the garden, it can be a wonderful way to develop their skills and character.
Growing the Curious Mind and Nurturing a Love for Nature
Teaching a child how to take care of a garden on their own is giving them the chance to learn about life in the most literal sense. Even the smallest garden is a web of life that a child will love to learn about, and sparking this kind of curiosity and love for learning at an early age will help them bring these traits as they grow older.
Aside from encouraging curiosity and a love for science, you can also use gardening to teach your child how to plan projects. By giving them a say in what kind of plants to place in your garden as well as a say on other components such as the theme and décor of the garden, you are teaching your child how to speak up and let their voice be heard.
Finally, gardening will give children a sense of responsibility and appreciation towards nature. There’s something special for a child about being able to grow a plant from seed to maturity and to be there during the whole process. If you are growing vegetables or fruits, your kids will also be able to appreciate how food is grown, as well as learn about nutrition and healthy eating habits.
The bottom line is that teaching your kids to garden is so much more than just teaching them how to use a watering can or pluck some weeds. Teaching them how to garden is teaching them a multitude of life lessons that your child won’t be able to learn in the classroom.
Set Them Up for Success
The easiest way on how to teach kids about gardening is by giving them a project that’s easy, rewarding, and will flower or bear fruit in a few weeks. If you’ve got a child who loves colorful flowers, marigolds and nasturtiums are easy to care for and bloom into beautiful flowers. If you want to teach them how to grow their food, start them off with vegetables such as cherry tomatoes or snap peas, or herbs such as mint and sweet basil.
Aside from choosing plants that are easy and quick to grow, you should also place their plot or containers in the area of our garden that receives the optimal amount of sunlight, soil, water, and wind. If they succeed with their first planting experience, it can bolster their confidence and make them excited to learn more about gardening.
Invest in the Proper Tools
As you learn how to teach kids about gardening, you might be tempted to buy those cheap plastic gardening tools that are made for children. Don’t do it. They’re not only flimsy and a complete waste of your money, but they are also very frustrating to use.
Yes, it is difficult to find gardening tools that can fit your child’s hand. In some cases, you might even need to “tweak” your tools, such as sawing the handle off a hoe to make it easier for a child to use. However, by showing your child that you are investing in the proper tools for them to garden, it sends a clear signal that this is an activity that you want to enjoy together for the long haul.
Engage Them Every Step of the Way
Children love learning new things, especially when they understand the context, and they see that the person that they are learning from is passionate about it as well. When you engage them in gardening and teach them the concepts behind it, such as caring for the environment and proper nutrition starting from proper care of your garden, they will be more willing to remember these lessons and apply them in their life.
Yes, Teach Them About Bad Plants Too
On how to teach kids about gardening, one of the things that you need to teach them is that not all plants are good! Some plants are toxic to children, and it would be in their best interest if you teach them how to avoid these plants. After all, you won’t be able to keep an eye on your child 24/7 while they’re in the garden, so they should know which plants to avoid.
Here are some common plants that you should teach your child to avoid:
- Daffodil – daffodils are beautiful, but the bulb is toxic if ingested
- Poinsettia – the sap can cause blindness if it accidentally comes into contact with the eye
- Poison Ivy – this plant is common in many parts of the United States and should never be touched
The problem with many toxic plants is that the flowers are often large, colorful, and attractive to a young child. By teaching your child to respect the plant, they can still develop their love for gardening while being safe from dangerous plants. Learn more gardening tips.
The process of how to teach kids about gardening is not an easy one. It requires a lot of patience, understanding, and encouragement on your part. It’s not something that a lot of parents can do successfully. However, there is no denying that being able to instill a love for gardening in a young child often leads to a love for nature, an appreciation for good nutrition, and a curiosity for science. These traits will also help them develop important life skills, such as taking responsibility, intuitive problem solving, and a high level of self-confidence. As a parent, you will also be able to spend quality time with your kids. It’s a win-win situation!