Children are always learning and gardening is a great way to introduce so many skills to them. Follow along for tips on how to garden with kids.
As I have gardened with my kids over the years, I have noticed the hundreds of learning experiences they have had from gardening. Experiments are created and observations are made. I have seen their little eyes light up as they discover something new to them.
For example, my kids were measuring things around our house and back yard. I found them in the garden after only a few seconds. They started measuring all the different plants in our garden. Then my son (who is obsessed with checking the growth of our pumpkin plant) suggested we measure the pumpkin leaf.
It was then suggested that we measure the same leaf each week to see how much the leaf grows in a week. The kids wrote in their notebooks the size of the leaf for that week. I didn’t have to do anything and an experiment was formed.
How do I introduce my kids to my garden?
Children are naturally attracted to nature and will likely take to your garden. You could check out a book about the science of how things grow. Read it to them and then take them out to your garden. Explain what you know about the plants you are growing.
You could invite them to observe the way a certain plant is growing or the color of a flower. For example; how some plants want to grow upwards and how some stay low to the ground. This is such a great way to teach your kids how to be observant to what is going on around them.
How do you garden with young children?
If you have very young children, and you simply need to get a few tasks done I would advise baby wearing while you garden. This allows them to be outside in nature with you, and you can get a few things done. Sometimes I would lay a blanket near me as I garden and the baby plays with a few toys.
You can also put your kiddo in a wagon or stroller, facing you, and give them a few toys or snacks. Honestly my kids stay pretty entertained just being outside. At least for a little bit. This will teach them to enjoy being outside and get used to being in the garden.
When the kids start toddling around is when it gets more tricky. Let them help you, even if it takes longer or seeds get spilled. I have had lots of volunteer plants pop up from little fingers dropping seeds in the dirt.
Let them water a section of the garden. Assign a section of dirt that needs “digging” to get ready to plant. Harvesting is a favorite for sure. Give them a basket and draw a line of dirt around some plants they can pick. You can even make a raised bed that can be a sand box for the kids to play in while you garden.
Teach them to pull weeds. My two year old loves helping me pull weeds. These little ones just like to feel important and the garden is a beautiful way to help them satisfy that need.
What plants to grow when gardening with kids
Carrots: carrots are a favorite at our house. My kids love pulling them up from the garden and eating them right away. I have planted a rainbow variety of carrots so you get purple, orange, white and yellow. The kids love the mystery of what color of carrot they will get!
Strawberries: These will come back every year. You can learn how to protect them from animals here. Kids love strawberries and have a blast checking each morning to see if they can find any hidden red berries to eat right away.
Radishes: These will pop out of the ground and mature quickly for a quick harvest. A fun crop to grow as they change so much overnight!
Pumpkins: If you have the space. There is nothing more fun than harvesting your own pumpkins from your back yard!
Flowers: Growing flowers is also a favorite. My kids love going out in the garden and cutting fresh flowers and making their own arrangements to go on the kitchen counter.
What they like to eat: If your child loves snacking on cherry tomatoes, then grow them! We have sugar snap pea lovers at our house and those are a constant we grow each year. Look over a garden magazine together and let them pick out something they think is tasty!
Tips to use when you garden with kids
- Expect things to take longer. Kids have questions, someone always gets hurt, and entire plants get ripped out.
- Let your kids pick out and plant. Let them take ownership of a section or row of garden. They love getting involved.
- Don’t expect perfection. Your rows may be a little crooked or your berries may never actually turn all the way ripe before a little hand picks it . Plants get stepped on, and that is okay.
- Do morning garden walks with your kids. This is so healing, and peaceful. It is truly amazing at how much changes overnight and it is so fun to see the kids discover that
- Grow things that your kids will have fun eating. Don’t be scared to try something new. Sometimes my kids will eat things from the garden that they wouldn’t touch if it were on their plate. Give them the experience of biting right into a radish or raw broccoli head. You may be surprised at how much they will eat right out of the garden.
- Teach your kids what is in the garden. This way if you are cooking and need something from the garden you can send out one of your kids to grab it. My kids love picking things for dinner. This usually leads to some type of pretend play!
Get your kids outside
I am a firm believer in getting kids outside to explore and learn. I never knew how much a garden would invite my kids outside. I have always loved to garden, but now that I see what it teaches my kids I love it even more. Take your next step to garden with kids in your life. You will see the rewards and love it!