Summer is here, and we are loving it. Check out this handy calendar to stay…
As the weather warms up, why not head outside with your little ones? There are so many benefits to letting kids get their hands dirty in the garden: From learning responsibility, gaining a sense of ownership over the foods that they grow and eat, more willingness to try new things that they’ve helped produce, and a sense of patience, there’s so much to love. (There’s also the surprising fact that getting outside and digging in the dirt can actually help boost your immune system!)
Don’t do overwhelmingly large projects, or too many things to keep in mind/remember. Try breaking it up into smaller tasks (picking out the seeds one day, choosing a location/planting another)
Give them their own tools
And don’t opt for the cheap plastic versions, functional and durable tools of a manageable size will help them build skills and independence- just make sure you’re monitoring them appropriately.
Voice in the process
Obviously, not everything can be left up to the kid, but there are a few things you can get their input on. Try providing several options for seeds/plants and allow them to make the final selection. Even something as simple as “where in the garden should we put this” can give kids a sense of agency.
Enjoying the fruits of their labor
If you have any picky eaters in your family, good news: kids (and adults) are much more likely to want to try a food if they’ve had a hand in growing and harvesting it. This is also a great opportunity to talk about what foods are safe to eat, poisonous plants in your area, and the importance of always knowing what a plant is before it’s ingested.
Big impact plants
Some plants are finickier than others, and while they’re all worthwhile to grow, we suggest choosing a few classic showstoppers: Zucchini and cherry tomatoes are practically guaranteed to provide an abundant veggie harvest, ever-bearing strawberries will provide fruit all summer long, and flowers like shasta daisies and sunflowers are sure to impress.
Pay attention to your climate zone, and steer clear of plants that need a hotter/longer growing season than your area provides. Watermelon is a great idea for hotter climates, but in the pacific northwest they won’t have a long enough season to fully ripen before the plants die.
Don’t Forget to Have Fun
Bonus: Our 3 Favorite Projects
If you and your little ones are already outside and digging in the dirt, or a classic flowers-and-veggies patch isn’t the right fit, we’ve picked our top 3 favorite outdoor gardening projects that are as kid-friendly and fun to start as they are beautiful.
A sunflower fort (sunflower house, sunflower tower, etc) is a ring or square of sunflowers that grow to form an enclosed space for children to play in. Try switching it up with different sizes and shapes, or go for a different plant altogether. Pole-bean towers are also a classic.
Another great way to show off the amazing beauty and variety of nature is through themed garden patches. Try choosing a plant from each color of the rainbow, filling a space with your little one’s favorite color, or go wild selecting a fun theme together.
Once you’re done planting, try any or all of these easy, kid friendly projects to jazz up your new garden, planter or yard feature. From rain barrels to planters made out of old rain boots, there’s something fun, functional and attractive for every taste.