10 Ways to Get Kids Involved in Gardening
It’s never too early to become a gardener! Here are some great kid-friendly gardening tools and approachable ways to get your kiddo interested
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Get your child prepped for success with a starter set of mini hand tools, perfectly sized for little hands. Made of ash wood and stainless steel, these are not the type of kids' tools that will disintegrate after a handful of uses. They can carry these tools with them for many years.
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Make It Tangible
One of the best ways to facilitate the connection between garden and food is to eat with your child in the garden. If you have your own garden, or access to a community garden or local farm, bring your child to the source and take her on a mobile picnic of its fruits. Cherry tomatoes, sugar snap peas, and nasturtiums are easy snackers full of flavor and expand the universe of your little buddy.
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Planting seeds is an easy gardening task for kids. Before planting, start a conversation with them about which vegetables and flowers they would like to grow. Not sure which to choose? Sugar snap peas are always a tasty reward and relatively simple and quick to get going, while sunflower seeds are large and easy to handle for even the chubbiest of little fingers. Beware that some seeds, such as sweet pea flowers, are poisonous and thus inappropriate to use with young kids. Take such features into consideration when choosing their seeds, or let the pros do it for you with a kid-friendly seed kit.
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Create a Dedicated Space
If your garden allows for the additional space, set up a kid-sized raised bed where your kiddo can get his fingernails dirty and plant his own seeds. This will denote a space that is all his, will have the luxury of deep rock-free soil for any roots he grows, and will allow you to fill his garden with weed-free soil. Set him up for success now, and let him discover the frustration of weeding at an older age.
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Consider the Indoors
With mini tools and pint-sized seeds, your child can easily grow indoors. Microgreens are a great starter plant. They allow your child to play with dirt, require no exact seed placement, and their rewards are very quick. Try fun plays on microgreens like sunflower shoots and basil shoots. Follow an online tutorial the first time and then you’ll both soon add this practice into your weekly routine.
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Install a Greenhouse
You can up the ante of indoor gardening with a mini-greenhouse intended for your mini-gardener. This glass beauty fits elegantly in front of a windowsill and comes with pre-seeded peat pods to get your little gardener started. Simply add sunshine and water and watch a world of cherry tomatoes, cone flowers, and miniature pumpkins come alive.
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With a little bit of outdoor space, you can make the garden more magical by choosing to plant perennials that attract more friends to the garden. Butterflies and hummingbirds are endlessly entertaining to children and adults alike. To attract these pollinating creatures, try butterfly bush, bee balm (pictured), hollyhock, milkweed, and black-eyed susans.
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Invite Other Helpful Insects
In addition to pollinators, other insects are integral to the garden ecosystem. Follow this tutorial to make a bug hotel that you can put anywhere outdoors that flowers and veggies grow. Bug hotels provide shelter and even food for bees, as well as beetles, spiders, and more.
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Gardening is often a trial-by-fire experience and one of the perennially frustrating aspects is that you must often wait an entire year to try again after learning a gardening lesson through mistakes made. Get your budding gardener a journal in which to record his day; all they need is a few notes per day. What was planted, what was blooming, what was harvested. This does not need to be any fancier than a notepad.
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Aim for the Long Haul
Once your kiddos are more experienced in their gardening forays, it’s important to keep them supplied with bigger and hardier tools. After all, having the right tools, coupled with learning proper planting, weeding, and hoeing techniques will save their bodies for 50, 60, or even 70 years of gardening. Give them tools that will last decades like these hand-forged ones made in Holland.