Gardening for kids can be fun, refreshing and educational. When kids garden with their parents, it helps create a stronger bond in their relationship because they’re spending time together and having fun.
Additionally, for those who struggle to get their kids to eat healthy food, gardening can be a useful tool. It’s also fairly simple to grow your own garden at home. It doesn’t require a large, sunny backyard and it doesn’t cost very much money, either. You can grow a few edibles or flowers in your existing yard. Or if you live in a city and don’t have space for a regular garden, a container, and soil in a sunny site can be an easy way to grow a few edibles and flowers that your kids won’t be able to resist.
If you’re looking for an engaging outdoor activity that allows the whole family to participate, consider a kid-friendly garden. From preparing the soil, selecting your plants and planting, and finally harvesting, gardening can be a great way to involve your kids in a healthy hobby you can all enjoy.
In this article, we will show you how to grow a garden with your kids this spring. Read on.
Gardening teaches kids a lot
Most kids enjoy being outdoors and love to dig in the soil, play with the dirt and grow their own food. Along with the fun of getting dirty, gardening offers wonderful and amazing opportunities for kids to grow and learn!
Kids will learn that science is cool
Gardening is a science and kids will learn lessons from botany, biology, and chemistry. In their own garden, they can make hypotheses and monitor the progress of each of their “experiments”. Without even realizing it, kids are learning the basic steps of the scientific process. They can learn which plants need less water, which plants need more sunlight and how long they take to grow.
There are also many lessons in mathematics that can be taught in the garden. From counting and measurement to shapes, angles, graphs, and fractions.
Kids will learn responsibility
Simple gardening activities, such as planting seeds, feeding and watering plants, help kids to become well-versed in an activity that they can do on their own. They will learn what it takes to keep something alive and how to care for something on a daily basis, which is a great learning curve and can also be tied in and used as a metaphor for lessons in caring for one another. They also learn how to follow a checklist, which will benefit them when deadlines become important in school.
Kids will learn patience
Gardening helps children learn valuable lessons about patience, which is something that not all kids are taught these days. It takes time to grow a healthy garden. Seeds take time to germinate. Plants take time to grow and produce fruit.
Kids will bone with you more
Gardening is a great way to get the family outdoors spending time together. You can your kids can work together to decide what vegetables and flowers to grow and where to grow them. You can go beyond that and make meals using the vegetables you grow with your kids.
Kids will eat healthier
Eating healthy and developing the knowledge to maintain a healthy diet is an important part of growing up. It’s often hard to get kids to eat vegetables, but it’s much easier when you teach kids how to grow their own vegetables as they develop a sense of pride in eating what they produced.
How to Plant a garden for kids
You Will Need
- A spot that is ready for your garden
- Paper and pen for writing out your plan
- Started plants (tomatoes, peppers, etc.)
- Seeds (flowers, squash, pumpkins, watermelon)
- Plant food (optional)
- Fertilizer (optional)
- Gardening tools (a small spade, hoe)
- String for measuring
- Watering can or hose
- Hula hoops (for a salsa or pizza garden)
- Old tires (for potato towers)
- Square wooden box (for watermelons)
Your existing backyard or other outdoor lands
Step 1 – Plan your garden
If you’ve decided to involve your kids in gardening, you need to consider several factors such as your summer schedule, where and what your kids will be gardening. Your kids will need clear paths, narrow beds, and edible plants or flowers. Kids should be able to reach across the beds.
Once you figure out the details, you can decide if you will grow vegetables, herbs, flower or fruit.
Have a family meeting and discuss the different options for your family garden.
Some kid-friendly gardens you can choose:
- Standard Garden
With this type of garden, you and your kids can choose to grow herb garden or vegetable garden. The term herb garden is usually used now to denote a garden of herbs used as ingredients in cooking, and the medicinal aspect is rarely considered. Generally, herbs need a sunny site, because the majority of the plants grown are native to warm and dry regions. The vegetables also need a sunny site. Good preparation of the soil is important for successful vegetable growing.
A standard garden is often fenced off to protect it from unwanted animals that may wish to partake of its offerings. You can divide the garden into equal-sized plots and allow your kids to grow their own plants in a specific plot.
- Rainbow Garden
There are various easy-to-grow flower plant species that you can choose to grow with your kids. Plant rows of flowers in a sequence of a rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.
- Butterfly Garden
This is flower gardening, but with the specific purpose of attracting butterflies. You can use these gardens to teach your kids insect identification and about the difference between annual and perennial plants.
- ABC Garden
Grow vegetables and herbs in groups alphabetically. You can put arugula, acorn squash and asparagus in one row. Then basil, beets and Brussels sprouts. Next is a row of cabbage, corn, and carrots. And so on…
Gardening when You Live in an apartment
If you live in an apartment building or the city, it might be a little trickier for you to plant a garden, but it can still be done. Here are a few options:
- See if your friends or neighbors who have some land would like to start a kid-friendly garden with your family.
- Ask a family member who lives out of the city if you can borrow some of their backyards for your garden. You can thank them in vegetables and fresh fruits.
- Start a community garden in your town. Bring together a few families who also want to plant a kid-friendly garden. Share the land and the responsibility. Note: you may want to choose a place which is close by since you will need to go to the garden at least 2 times a week.
Your summer schedule
This is the final aspect you need to consider before planting a garden. If you are busy at the beginning of the summer, look for plants that produce or bloom slowly such as corn or watermelon. If you are very busy at the end of the summer, look for plants that produce or bloom fast: green beans, herbs or flowers. There are also very low-maintenance plants like squash, herb, and corn, which require less attention.
Step 2 – Get Your Plants
Once you figure out what type of garden you will plant, you need to get the plants.
There are 2 ways you can do this:
- Get seeds from a garden center or stores with a garden section. Flowers, onion, corn, beets, watermelon or carrots are all great items to grow from seeds.
- You can get “starter” plants. These are already growing plants, and you simply plant them in the soil. You can find these plants at garden centers, farmer’s market, and nurseries. Green beans, eggplant, peppers, squash, tomatoes are a little more difficult, so we suggest getting starter plants.
Step 3 – Plant the garden
You need to prepare the soil before the day you plant it with your kids. If you’re working on a large garden, you may want to use a tiller to get it ready. You can rent these from a certain hardware store.
Once the soil is ready, choose a day that is warm and sunny. Take your seeds, starter plants, a map of the garden. Gather the kids and head outside to plant!
Use your plan to lay out your garden. To save time and reduce stress, don’t plant anything until you have all of the plants and seed packets sitting on the ground where they will be eventually be planted. This also allows you to get your kids involved in the planting process. You can tell them which seeds or starters to plant, and they will know where it goes.
Here’s a way to help your kids get used to the dirt and garden and be more comfortable in nature.
Dress your kids in a hat and gardening clothes, mix some soil and water and let them play in the mud! Don’t forget to use sunscreen.
Kids love digging in the dirt and will benefit from having their gardening equipment. Child-sized tools are great if you can find quality ones. Blunt-nosed Fiskars scissors work great for cutting flower in the garden, and children can arrange their own flowers with floral tape. You will also want to give kids their own baskets for holding hand-picked bouquets or harvesting snacks.
Take your time with your kids and remember that a kid’s attention span may wane sooner than yours.
Step 4 – Care for your garden
Now, you have your own garden, it’s time to take care of it. Take care of the plants and get rid of the pests. You will need to pull the weeds out and water when it hasn’t rained. Put garden time on the family calendar at least 2 times a week.
Remind your kids that they need to be patient to see the results. Each seed has a different germinating time. Since each plant takes a different amount of time to get a crop, you will be also to harvest some produce before another. You also want to teach them some science lessons through planting your garden.
Play it safe
You need to be concerned about sprays or chemicals in the garden. Never let your kids touch leaves or plants that have been treated with chemicals as they probably put their hands into their mouths that are very dangerous.
It’s also good to set the rules about tool safety up front, don’t swing any tools around and keep any sharp, pointed tools from your kids.
Some final thoughts…
Gardening can be a wonderful family project filled with adventure, learning, and experimentation, and kids love to learn when they’re having fun. Not only will your kids enjoy the satisfaction of growing something, but they will love spending time with you.
We hope that we have inspired you to “take the plunge” and plant your family garden. It may take some work and some effort, but the rewards are well worth it!
Additionally resources to gardening for kids
- How Gardening Teaches Kids To Grow
- My First Garden
- Grow A Garden With Your Kids
- How Kids Can Help In The Garden
- Plant A Garden, Help A Child Grow
- Gardening With Kids
- Plant A Garden
- How Gardening Can Help Children With ADD
- Kids’ Gardening
- Steps To Create A Community Garden Or Expand Urban Agriculture
- Teaching Children To Grow A Garden – Videos