Kids in The Garden
Kids can learn new skills, have fun, play and develop self-confidence by spending time in the garden. Many aspects of life & nature can be taught in a fun & relevant way through gardening.
Kids learn from growing things.
Gardening is educational & fun. It develops new skills including:
Responsibility – from caring for plants.
Understanding – as they learn about cause & effect (for example, plants die without water, weeds compete with plants).
Self-confidence – from achieving their goals & enjoying the food they have grown.
Love of nature – a chance to learn about & appreciate the great outdoors.
Reasoning & discovery – learning about the science of plants, reproduction, animals, good bugs & bad bugs, weather, the environment, nutrition & simple construction.
Exercise – doing something fun & productive, enjoying fresh air & sunshine.
Cooperation – playing together, sharing & teamwork.
Creativity – finding new & exciting ways to grow food, designing a garden, garden crafts.
Nutrition – learning about where fresh food comes from. Understanding organics and how healthy it is to grow your own.
How do you get them interested?
Keep it simple.
Give children their own little garden space.
Let them help to plan & design the garden.
Use lightweight, easy-to-handle, colourful, correct-sized tools & gardening equipment.
Encourage them enjoy to digging in the dirt, making mud pies, finding worms.
Grow fun & interesting plants like sunflowers, corn, pumpkins, tomatoes & strawberries.
Show them how to hand pollinate pumpkin flowers.
Use a trellis or teepee to grow beans or sweet peas. Make it big enough for them to use as a tent.
Plant flowers that attract butterflies, ladybirds and other interesting insects or birds.
Make a scarecrow.
Tap into their creativity – teach them to upcycle.
Install a water feature, a bird or butterfly bath or a sundial.
Set up a worm farm.
Make it fun!
Make sure you keep them safe!
Choose to use kid-sized tools.
Keep sprays and fertilisers out of reach.
Garden organically. Avoid chemicals.
Provide safe storage for equipment and tools.
Secure fences and gates.
Provide shade & plenty of drinking water in summer.
Make sure that kids wear a hat, sunscreen, suitable clothing, gumboots & gardening gloves.
Do not leave buckets of water unattended around very young children and toddlers.
Kids will all have different expectations & will learn different things in the garden, depending on their age.
Younger kids will need to be carefully supervised. Watering plants, harvesting produce & planting seeds are all great things for younger kids to do in the garden. Older kids can handle more advanced activities, like digging, carrying, planting, mulching, pruning & even building.
Choose activities that suit the child’s age.
Some ideas to get you started:
Watering the garden.
Picking flowers, gathering seeds & dried flowers.
Planting vegetables, fruits & flowers in the correct season.
Feeding the worms & using the ‘worm tea’ from the worm farm as fertiliser.
Picking vegetables and fruits when they are ready to eat.
Preparing healthy food, like making salads & preparing school lunches.
Craft activities to suit the occasion (eg. Easter) using seeds, plants & flowers from their patch.
Composting, recycling and mulching.
Up-cycling by finding new uses for old things.
Weeding & deadheading flowers.
Preparing the soil with organic fertiliser.
Replanting and re-potting.