As days lengthen and spring emerges one daffodil at a time, rally the family to head outside for an afternoon of gardening. There’s something therapeutic about digging in the dirt, planting seeds, and dreaming about blooms to come. Having a green thumb isn’t just for the seasoned gardener: it’s for the whole family. Check out our top 15 tips on including the kiddos in your next horticultural venture.
1. Growing from seeds can be a waiting game with little immediate satisfaction. Kids will love the quick turnaround time and tasty results from the following seed variations: lettuce and mesclun, radishes, snow peas, and cherry tomatoes.
2. Think simple care, but big color when it comes to planting flowers with kids. Variations like sunflowers, nasturtiums, poppies, marigolds and pansies are vibrant and forgiving when it come to care.
3. A theme garden is a great way to maintain focus. Does your family love pasta or pizza? Consider a garden with tomatoes, herbs, and peppers. See a how-to at bonnieplants.com.
4. Starting plants from seed provides an education opportunity to teach kids about germination, flowering, pollinating and other plant life cycle topics.
5. Create a growth chart for kids to track the progress of their seedlings by encouraging them to check on them daily and illustrate what they observe.
6. Pair a favorite story with gardening activities. Planting green beans or another viney variation? Read Jack and the Beanstalk before heading out to dig in the dirt. Even better, bring the story to life in the form of a fun bean stalk teepee (the one pictured is from One Hundred Dollars a Month.)
7. Take a family trip to the local nursery and engage the senses. Explore the soft texture of plants like lamb’s ear, take in the pungent scent of rosemary, and marvel at the vibrant petals of a hibiscus flower.
8. Convert that old, lonely sandbox into a gardening bed for kids. It’s a nifty way to upcycle a forgotten toy with soil and a few cheap seed packets. See how blogging mom Dana did it at Made.
9. Sometimes larger gardening tools can be too cumbersome for kids to effectively use. A small trowel will be a child’s best friend when it comes to digging and tilling the soil.
10. Allot a portion of the garden to your child and relinquish plant choices, as well as care to him or her.
11. Keep creativity on the forefront and let kids design and decorate signs to identify seedlings. Check over these clever and bright markers by Crafts by Amanda.
12. Teach children how some insects are helpful to the garden, and some are destructive. For example, earthworms help aerate the soil and create beneficial conditions for plants.
13. Craft a butterfly garden by planting varieties like astors, butterfly bush, lantana, and bee balm. Fluttery friends will flock to this floral oasis.
14. A lack of yard doesn’t have to curtail gardening dreams. Herbs can be grown indoors and placed on a sunny window sill.
15. Avoid the use of pesticides or other chemicals if gardening pests emerge. Teach kids about green practices like using herbs and other methods to keep unwanted bugs at bay.
For more information on gardening, check out our Gardening Guide for Beginners…