Can you dig it?
Grow a stronger family by gardening together, no matter how young or old your children are or whether they’re boys or girls. All you need is a willingness to help and be helped. Soon you’ll be sprouting with the pleasure of seeing your children explore the wonders of nature at every age.
Help preschoolers to age 4
with their explorations, but don’t expect too much help with your chores. This is the time to build their interest in gardens, plants, dirt and how things grow. It’s not time for structure.
to create their own space in the garden where they can play, fantasize and build forts and hideaways. Supervise them as they dig and discover.
As elementary school age children, age 6-7
build their reading and math skills, let them take the lead in selecting plants and seeds. Provide them with catalogs and let them make selections at the nursery. In the garden, encourage them to write the names and decorate plant markers. Help them to do some of the work and keep them engaged in the physical activities of gardening. Let them carry items and help you plant.
Middle school age children, age 8 – 11,
will take greater pride in doing a good job by your side and on their own. Ask them to draw a plan of the garden, thinking about growing space, color, height and texture and encourage them to carry out the plan. As their ability with tools grows, teach them to build a solid low fence, trellis or flower box.
As your children grow into the ‘tween and teen years,
encourage them to see gardening as a social activity. Let them invite friends to the garden to hang out as they weed or harvest. And as their interest in commerce grows, and if you have enough vegetables or flowers to spare, let them sell their yield to neighbors and friends.
Throughout the school year,
suggest gardening ideas as extra credit, class projects and science fair entries. Let your children know how important gardening is to the world as a whole – and to a well-rounded future.
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