Give Kids a Plant for Their Room
Putting a plant in their living and sleeping space is a wonderful, immediate way for them to cultivate an interest in gardening: they will see their plant every morning when they wake up! For younger kids, be sure to place the plant out of their immediate reach: all that soft, messy soil is just too tempting! Kids will quickly learn about the need for light and water. And having such a big responsibility is also a great way to let them subtly understand how much work that dog they have been begging you for will be in comparison.
Your child’s environment will also get a boost from a plant – peace lilies, spider plants, aloe vera plants and ficus trees are all known to be great for detoxifying the air naturally (as well as for their low maintenance needs). Terrariums have the whimsical feeling of a miniature world and can be made with everyday objects.
Visit Local Garden Centers, Farms or Horticultural Centers
Open your child’s eyes to all the gardening possibilities and visit local garden centers, farms or horticultural centers (in addition to reading great gardening books with them). These green spaces are fun places to explore and may even have child-geared activities or workshops. Experienced staff is also often on hand to offer advice for kid-friendly plantings. Showing children about the huge variety that exists (from ferns to tropical plants to cacti) will introduce them to the idea of how diverse plants are suited to different climates and environments.
Give Them Their Own Growing Space – Physically and Mentally
Save a corner or a row of the garden for your little one (or even just a pot, if space is tight). Show them a variety of seeds suitable for growing in that space and encourage them to choose to grow a flower they like the smell of or a new vegetable they might like to try. Then let them make the actual decisions as to what their space will include.
Allow kids to explore “their” garden on their own terms. For some kids, that might be building a rock garden or designing a fence to keep nosy animals (or siblings) out. For others, it may be digging in the dirt with Mom or Dad’s tools. Older kids can even get a bit of math instruction as well when you show them how certain seeds need to be placed ¼ inch or 1/8 of an inch below the soil and how plants also need to be spaced apart accordingly to allow for growing room. The important lesson is that playing in the dirt and growing things is a fun activity that can grow and change over the years, just like them!
Have a Pot Decorating Party
Inspire other mini green thumbs by having a few kids (and maybe even their parents) over to paint some planters. Tots will get even more excited about what they can put in their artistic creation. Kids can choose what seeds they want to bring home and plant later, adding some greenery to their own homes. Use eco-friendly paints to get the job done!
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