Happy Arbor Day! Also known as the day for planting trees, this event was created back in 1872, in the treeless plains of Nebraska. The idea was to not only help dot the empty midwest landscape with more timber, but also to help the environment overall. Millions of trees have been planted since – up to an estimated 18 million each year! While planting trees might not be practical for your little one, another great way to involve your kids in nature is to grow a garden together! Not only is gardening one of the highlights of springtime, it is also a wonderful way to sow quality time with your child, while reaping the benefits of character building, patience, and delicious organic food. So, to help you get started, we have gathered some of the best tips from fellow gardening moms for you!
So again, why garden with my kids?
Some additional benefits for your child include:
- Appreciating those who invest their lives in the soil, providing food for us
- Learning the value of hard work
- Talking about God’s beautiful creation we are blessed to share
- Understanding our food does not magically appear on the table
- Helping combat childhood obesity
- Studies now show that that kids who help grow fruits & vegetables are more likely to eat them
4 tips for growing a successful garden with your child
Equip them with the right tools
“One of the first things that I did was to buy my kids their own garden tools,” one mom states. I wanted them to have the same types of tools that I have, so that when I am working in the garden, they can grab their own similar tool and work alongside me.
This doesn’t have to be a give investment – simple plastic, dollar store tools are perfect for kids under 5.
Give them their own section
Allow kids to have their own small space in the garden to do with as they please – whether it’s for digging around, or customizing which plants they want to grow – so that they have their own domain to take responsibility for, water, weed, and see the fruit of.
You can even let them make a special sign just for their garden. The book Roots, Shoots, Buckets, and Boots explains how make a pizza garden, for example.
Limited space? Give them a few containers to garden in, set up a small raised bed (3ft by 3ft works well), or you can even use hay bales! Just cut out holes in the top of the hay bale, fill with soil, and plant. This will also eliminate the need for weeding!
Use kid friendly plants
Not sure where to start? Several kid-friendly favorites for children under age 5 include squash, pumpkins, tomatoes and strawberries. Some kids love digging around in the dirt, so potatoes and carrots also make excellent options.
Teach the importance of insects
While not all bugs are well-received, most kids find ladybugs fascinating. Show them how ladybugs help protect their plants by eating aphids, and how bees pollenate and nurture their flowers – over time, they may learn to see them as helpful, rather than scary.
Remember that as a parent, you have way more influence than any television show ever could. So be creative with your approach, make it a fun experience, and your children will learn to appreciate, maybe even love, gardening.
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