I’ve always loved spending time in the garden with my boys. It’s incredible to see nature through their eyes – they’re so inquisitive and show appreciation for things that many of us including myself can find tedious.
It’s so important that kids connect with nature and get their hands dirty. You don’t need a big space, smaller gardens on balconies and rooftops are popping up everywhere.
Giving your kids responsibility in the garden is entrusting them with something so they can get an understanding of cause and effect. They will see how leaves can wilt if you do not give enough water, or how some plants perform better than others that aren’t receiving any compost or fertiliser. Allowing them to take charge, even if it’s something as simple as watering the orange tree, can give them a sense of pride and achievement, especially when it comes time to pick the fruit.
Start small and don’t get carried away trying to teach them everything at once. Planting veggies and herbs are a great way to start because kids can eat what they grow. You can spend time with them checking for pests and weeds teaching them when to feed and water the plant. They can also ask questions about the plant as it grows. The things they learn about that one plant can then apply to other parts of the garden as their enthusiasm grows.
Keeping things fun is so important. The moment it feels like a lesson, my boys are out. Even things that I find a chore can be exciting in the right context. Having leaf fights with them and getting them to notice that the leaves on some trees fall in autumn while others don’t, get them thinking and asking questions. It seems small but it’s just about building that wonder for nature. Even things like asking them to pick herbs for dinner is exciting – my boys love learning the names of the different herbs so when I ask them to grab some coriander they can do it. It makes dinner a more shared experience because we’ve all contributed something.
It’s important not to get too involved – let them make their own mistakes and learn from them. Gardens are fantastic places to learn because plants are often so forgiving – if you prune too hard they will eventually grow back. If you forget to feed them one year it’s not the end of the world – your plants will survive. Remembering this when you’re getting your kids involved is important too.
I gave my boys a small greenhouse for them to grow their seeds in. As much as I wanted to remind them to water their plants every day, they got more out of it when they saw that some plants were doing well and others weren’t. I encouraged them to stick their fingers in the soil and see that some were very dry and others were damp. They loved knowing that their actions had these effects, and they were more diligent with the second batch of seedlings.
Don’t stress if your kids don’t show the same love for the garden as you do. I’ve learnt that as much as I love a particular plant or flower, there is a good chance that one of the boys might accidentally break it, or fall into it, or just pick it for themselves. And if they see that pile of leaves I’ve just spent the last couple of hours raking up, I’d much rather them jump into it than ignore it altogether.
Being a father and a horticulturist made me realise how few products were aimed at encouraging children to soak up the outdoors. Its one of the reasons we launched Plant Runner Kids on our website The Plant Runner – to curate a range of toys and activities designed to get kids as excited about plants and the outdoors as I am.
Please note: The Plant Runner can’t ship this prize to WA and TAS due to their quarantine laws of potting mix & plants. Competition is open to other states around Australia.
To enter simply;
– ‘Like’ the Tips for getting kids into the Garden Kiddiehood Facebook post
– Tell us why you would like your kids to get into the garden.
by midnight Sunday 30 August 2020.
Terms & Conditions.
The winner will be notified by messenger and must claim their prize within 48 hours. Any prizes that are not claimed within 48 hours may be reallocated to another winner. Open to Australian Residents only – Please note that The Plant Runner can’t ship this prize to WA & TAS due to their quarantine laws of potting mix & plants. This competition is being run by Kiddiehood and The Plant Runner. You must be aged 18 years or over to enter. Those who Like the Tips for getting kids into the Garden competition post on Kiddiehood Facebook page, write why they would like their kids to get into gardening in the post comment area and follows Kiddiehood and The Plant Runner on Facebook by midnight Sunday 30 August 2020 will be entered into the competition; the winner will be randomly selected. There is one prize pack to be won. The prize is non-transferable. In the event that Kiddiehood postpones or varies the competition prize, Kiddiehood will not be liable to any person for any loss, damage or personal injury suffered or sustained as a result of entering the competition. While Kiddiehood takes care to ensure all information relating to the Competition is correct, it does not warrant the accuracy of all information provided and will not be liable for any inaccuracy or error. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. You understand that you are providing your information to Kiddiehood and not to Facebook.