Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Gardening with Kids

Looking for a fun activity for the entire family to enjoy? Try gardening! Whether your focus is vegetable gardening, growing flowers or herbs, or a combination of gardening activities, introduce your family to gardening this spring.

Benefits of gardening with kids:

Kids of all ages learn how to plan, nurture, and enjoy growing flowers, vegetables, and herbs.
Provides an opportunity to teach the monetary savings of growing your own food and flowers.
Teaches important lessons such as patience, responsibility, and nurturing.
It’s an activity the family can enjoy together outdoors.

Types of gardens:

Backyard: Those gardens planted and cultivated in the privacy and convenience of your own property.
Container: A great choice for small spaces such as apartments, container gardens offer the enjoyment of gardening in a little space.
Community: Often located in cities, community gardens provide a plot of land for each participant to plant, cultivate, and enjoy as his/her own. In addition to the benefits of gardening, this type of garden provides a great sense of belonging and community.

Planning your garden:

1. Determine what planting zone you live in. This will affect what vegetables and flowers will thrive in your garden.
2. Check your local garden center or the Farmers Almanac for suggestions of what to plant.
3. Create a planting schedule. This is based on the last frost of the season as well as the type of plants you’ll be growing.

How can you get your kids involved with gardening?

Make gardening a fun activity for the kids, and they’re likely to want to join in. In addition, follow these guidelines:

1. Develop a plan for your garden as a family. Allow each family member to choose a vegetable or flower to grow.
2. Assign specific tasks for actually planting the garden. Younger family members may be responsible for digging holes and planting seeds. Older kids may assist with marking rows or putting up a fence.
3. Develop a routine for maintaining, watering, and weeding the garden.
4. Monitor and track progress to help determine what to plant next year.

What are some gardening activities for kids?

Create a garden art box.
Plant extra seeds to grow food for the needy in your community or at your place of worship.
Plant specific gardens that attract butterflies or gardens that smell good, for instance.
For more ideas on gardening activities for kids, check out this site.

Gardening crafts:

Design your own place markers for rows of seeds. Use sticks, discarded flatware, and other materials you can find to create unique pieces for your garden.
Paint rocks to decorate your garden. Check out this video for making ladybug rocks.
Create an earth loom for your garden. Made out of remnants found in your yard, such as sticks, twine, and stalks, combined with fiber and yarn, a garden earth loom makes a wonderful addition to any garden. Check out some ideas here.
Encourage kids to make signs. For instance, if you’ve planted carrots, paint a sign discouraging bunnies from trespassing!

Regardless of what you grow and how simple or elaborate your garden is, gardening can be a great family activity. In addition to resulting in delicious produce and flowers for your family to enjoy, gardening provides hours of fun, teamwork, and entertainment for your entire family.

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