Gardening with children is a great activity that teaches them productivity, science, nutrition, and confidence. This year I decided to try my luck with gardening. I wanted to try to cut back our costs at the grocery store and also have fresh veggies and fruit available to my family. Gardens have so many benefits especially when made into a family activity.
We found several ways to keep the kids very involved in our gardening project. We started by having the girls go with us and pick out the seeds. My daughters picked zucchini, cucumber, watermelon, yellow squash, red peppers, herbs, and tomatoes. My husband made a simple garden box out of a few pieces of wood and three bags of soil. We are also planning on making a couple garden boxes out of recycled material. We have gotten a few pallets from people we know. We are going to turn them upside down and cover the bottom with a green cloth. We will flip it over and fill it with dirt then place the seeds in the open rows created by the boards. This will be a great way to keep all of the plants separate and to have an instant garden. I took the girls out to the garden box and I placed the seeds into the dirt and let them push them into the dirt then cover them up. The back of the package of seeds gives us instructions on how far apart we need to place them. I let the kids go outside every few days and water the plants. The girls also are in charge of pulling out all the weeds. I found that there are many things children are able to do when it comes to gardening.
Gardening also makes for a great learning experience for kids and is a great lesson in science. Children learn about the way plants grow and can track the changes in flowers. I personally never knew that a lot of the veggies grow right where the flower grows and that when the flower grows and dies it becomes the end of the vegetable. I also never knew that cucumber plants are extremely prickly, probably to protect the plant from bugs and small critters. The children learn about the weather and how that can affect the garden too. My oldest daughter is keeping a journal where she draws out the growth of the plants each week and also keeps track of the weather throughout the week. When the plants grow into their full size we get to use them for cooking and test different recipes to figure out what they prefer. They also learn a lot by making the recipes. Measuring helps to teach them about math, while they learn science by discovering how certain ingredients cause chemical reactions through the cooking process. There is so much that kids can learn from making a garden!
As an added bonus growing your own garden can teach children how to make investments and to create their own resources. We have found that growing a garden can help stretch our money and grocery budget. I was explaining to my oldest daughter the idea of investing time and money in something and patiently waiting for your reward. We spent fifty cents on a pack of clearance heirloom seeds. The seeds have already grown into six full size cucumbers. So our initial fifty cent investment and the investment of our time and efforts have already saved us a couple of dollars, and we are only beginning to see the harvest. Learning about wise investments is an important lesson for kids.
We have really enjoyed spending the time with our kids growing our garden. I hope you find some inspiration to try your hand at gardening with children too!