Toddlers and Tomatoes: Tips for Gardening with Kids
It’s halfway through the summer, so by now you’ve probably exhausted all of the park and fun outdoor options here in town. If you have kiddos, their restlessness may be driving you crazy day in and day out. Or, your kids might be opting to sit inside and play video games all day and you may be finding it hard to get them outdoors. Well, we have a solution for you! Involving your kids in your gardening practices will help you to get outside together in a productive way and turn their summer fun into a useful activity.
Gardening is a great way to connect with not only nature, but with each other too. First and foremost, your kids will be much more willing to help out in the garden if given some control. A great first step is to have the kids pick out the seeds or plants they want to grow, either at a nursery or online. Picking out what they want to grow will help them get more involved and be more excited about the project. If you have already started your growing process, there are creative ways to give the kids some control, like having them come up with goofy names for the plants.
Kids tend to gravitate towards things that are visually appealing, or that they know are tasty. It may be in your best interest to help your kids pick things you know they will enjoy, like cherry tomatoes, strawberries, or other goodies. It is always okay to start off small with your garden, but don’t be afraid to branch out and try new things. Themed gardens, such as a garden filled with ingredients for a pizza like tomatoes and basil, will appeal to the kiddos and help them understand the purpose of the garden.
If you want to get your kids even more involved, consider purchasing a kids gardening set, with items such as child-sized gloves, garden hand tools, a watering can and more. While these are fun and can bridge the gap between gardening tools and toys for the kids, you do not need to buy new tools for them to get involved. Planting, watering, and weeding are all small tasks fit for the kids.
There is much more to a garden than planting. Crafting homemade birdhouses and bird feeders are great indoor or outdoor activities perfect for the kids. Putting them up in your garden, as well as items such as birdbaths, will bring new wildlife into your backyard. Furthermore, planting annual and perennial flowers provides a great habitat for pollinators, such as butterflies and hummingbirds.
Gardening with your kids is a great way to educate them about nature and sustainability from a young age, and it also is a great opportunity for you to bond over a shared interest. From getting them out of the house, to gaining new skills like identifying types of bugs or birds, there is a lot of value your kids will get from gardening.