Gardening With Kids
There’s just nothing like the wonder and excitement that gardening with kids can bring. Burying secret treasure seeds in damp soil and marking their spots with special handmade signs are activities that bring value far beyond their educational benefits. In a time when babies are using smart phones and kids struggle to part with their tablets and video games, getting their hands dirty and learning good old fashioned hard work connects us to the earth that God made us from.
Learning that the entire blueprint of a whole plant AND its fruit are contained in a teeny tiny seed can show kids how God’s entire design for their lives are hidden inside them. Let them experience this amazing wonder themselves first hand and see where gardening with kids can take your daily conversations! Just like we’re learning from We Choose Virtues, God has made the caterpillar to be a butterfly, the design is already inside each one and they will change into beautiful butterflies. In the same way, God’s beautiful design is in each child so that they will continue to grow into children full of godly characteristics and virtues.
My favorite crops for children:
Cherry Tomatoes – You can demonstrate staking the tomato plants and teach about how godly correction and discipline is just like staking the plants. It helps us grow to be strong plants and produce the most fruit. Little ones love picking the bright colored tomatoes that are just the perfect size for tiny hands.
Peas – These “secret treasure” plants are so fun for little ones. Picking a pea pod and opening it up to discover the surprise inside is such a fun moment for even the tiniest gardeners.
Carrots – Carrots are direct sow and sprout quickly, making this a really great crop for children. Can you see the carrot growing underground? Don’t be hasty and pick it before it’s ready, otherwise you won’t have a carrot big enough to sustain you. Oh, the many lessons root vegetables can teach us!
Potatoes – Potatoes are another great crop for kids. Watch the leaves grow bigger and higher and keep mounding the dirt pile. When it’s time to harvest, go on a digging adventure and see how many potatoes you can find hidden in the dirt. Wash them with care and cook and serve them for family dinner. This is such a fun crop for kids of all ages.
Tips for gardening with kids:
- Let them ruin everything. Seriously. If you’re a Type A personality like me, letting your kids do the work is very challenging. But take a deep breath, and go ahead and let them mess everything up. Show them how to plant and help them get a few right, then let them do things wrong. They will learn much more by trying than they will by having a stressed out mom take the shovel away and do it herself. And if they come in the house all proud of themselves because they picked an entire bucket of green, unripe tomatoes, just smile and explain that they’re not ripe yet. Let them taste one and explain that we have to wait for the right time.
- Protect their precious work. Using PVC hoops and netting can keep out birds, dogs and wreckless 2 year olds! Take the time to protect your garden.
- Pick your battles & lessons wisely. Your little ones don’t need to start off learning everything all at once. Give them portions of work that are just right for their age and ability. Let them plant a few seeds, water the plants every once and awhile, pick a few weeds and harvest. The goal is to make gardening fun and keep the wonder alive. It’s ok to garden in secret to make sure things are growing successfully so that your little ones get to take part in harvesting.
Great books for gardening with kids:
Gardening Journal For Kids
Here’s a simple garden journal you can use to help your kids get excited about the plants they will grow: