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Get Children Excited About Gardening

August 26, 2010

Recently, at a drop-in course for children and parents, the staff at Phipps shared many different ways in which to get children involved with gardening.  Some of these methods are included below. 

1. Get them involved in the design– Involve children in the planning and preparation of the garden.  Ask kids what they want to grow and be sure to plant some of their favorite vegetables.  One way to do this is to group vegetables into theme gardens, like a pizza garden or a “favorites” garden.   

2. Child-sized tools– Having child-sized gardening tools is a great way to get children involved in the garden.  Leave some space in the garden unplanted and allow children to play in the dirt!  Children explore soil organisms and begin to learn that the soil is alive!  Early mud-pie makers will grow into curious gardeners. 

 3. Watering and Weeding– Allowing your children to help in the garden with simple tasks such as watering and weeding can help to make the children feel like it is their garden.  They will take pride in the work that they have done.

4.  Harvest- Have your child help with the harvest!  Children will be excited about collecting fruits and vegetables from the garden.  All that care that they put into the garden pays off when they can pull a tomato or cucumber off the stem.

5.  Preparing your vegetables– Salads are great, but think about using your garden vegetables for pizza toppings or in your favorite salsa recipe.  Encourage your child to help with any vegetable preparations.  Proper cutting techniques are important for older children to learn, but may be dangerous for younger children.  Allow younger children to help with other aspects of a recipe, like measuring and mixing. 

6. Eat your veggies–  Of course; the best part of gardening is eating the fruits of your labor.  Don’t forget to have children eat the vegetables that they helped to grow!  Canning and preserving vegetables is another great way to get kids involved. 

7.  Teach children how to compost– Finally, kids are fascinated by natural systems.  They will be awed by your composter’s ability to turn food scraps into soil.  Teach your child what can be composted and how to tend to the composter.

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