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Gardening For Kids

 

 

Get your hands dirty! Gardening activities with your children!

 

One of the best ways to connect with nature and your kids is to get dirty in the garden. There are so many life lessons packed into growing plants and working with nature. And guess what? You can do this in a garden, on a balcony or windowsill with not as many tools as you think. Let’s keep it simple!

 

Gardening Life Lessons

 

  • Patience, watching things grow and change
  • Regular care of something other than¬†yourself
  • Grow your own food (start with herbs!)¬†
  • Hydration‚Ķ water the plants (water myself)
  • Nourishment‚Ķ what do plants eat? What do we eat?
  • Working with nature (rain, sun, pests)
  • Stress reduction¬†
  • Giving back to the planet
  • Safety using sharp tools
  • Why being outdoors is great for us humans :-)

 

Photo by Anna Earl on Unsplash

 

What do you need to garden with your kids?

 

Here are the tools you need when you want to invest in this hobby and things you can use from your kitchen when you want to just get started.

 

1) Something to Cut With

 

One of the most satisfying things for a kid gardener to do is to start cutting things. Cutting off brown leaves or cutting back bushes in spring are super easy for them. Kids crave tasks and feeling responsible for something :-)

What you might have on hand:

  • For small children, choose safe dull scissors and help them along.
  • For older kids,¬†teach them how to be safe and cut carefully with supervision.

What you can buy:

  • A garden clipper with a proper grip.
  • Child-safe garden¬†clipper

 

2) Something to Shovel With

 

To dig holes and move dirt around a spoon type tool is great. For this, I have often used an old serving spoon because I didn’t want to keep more stuff in my tiny apartment. I hate clutter

What you might have on hand: 

  • An old sturdy spoon, spade or a mixing bowl.

What you can buy:

  • Tiny kids sized shovel with rounded edge in a fun colour.

 

3) Something to Break Up the Earth

 

Depending on where you plant and what you want to do, there will be a need for poking the ground. Sometimes, in the garden, the earth is quite hard and for that something strong would work best.

What you might have on hand:

  • The handle of an old wooden spoon, an old serving fork, small rake.

What you can buy:

  • Kid sized spade with a small rake on the other side.

 

Photo by Neslihan Gunaydin on Unsplash

 

4) Seeds, seedlings or small plants

 

If you have zero experience planting or gardening, start mega simple with herbs that love to grow and don‚Äôt¬†require¬†much water¬†‚Ästjust in case you forget to water it. The added fun is being able to eat the herbs and add it to daily salads and dishes which make it extra special for your child.

What you might have on hand: 

  • I recommend¬†buying¬†fresh new plants, seeds or seedlings OR ask a¬†neighbour¬†if you can get a piece of their plant to propagate in water.

What you can buy:

  • Seeds¬†- pay attention to what time of year these need to get planted in. Starting from seeds requires a lot of patience and many do-overs. Good lesson in making mistakes and trying again.
  • Seedlings¬†- ready to go, these tiny plants give you a jump start in the garden.
  • Small plants¬†- easiest option is to buy smaller plants that look healthy and plant them into a larger pot. They grow quickly in a bigger pot.

Which are the easiest herbs to grow

  • Rosemary
  • Mint or peppermint -¬†any variety
  • Oregano

 

5) Dirt, Potting Soil‚Ķ AKA ‚ÄúEarth‚ÄĚ

 

Since I haven‚Äôt been traveling at all, I have been learning a lot about plants and how to make my ‚Äúearth‚ÄĚ the best it can be in each pot. Depending on the plant we want to grow, where on our balcony or in the apartment we will keep it, and what type of pot we¬†will¬†keep it in, changes how you feed and nourish the soil, therefore,¬†nourishing the plant. For years I never knew I needed to feed the dirt!¬†

We use either compost or an organic fertiliser to keep our soil well-nourished and our plants growing nice, green and healthy. 

What you might have on hand: 

  • I recommend¬†buying¬†fresh potting soil.

What you can buy:

  • There is different potting soil for herbs, house plants, orchids, cactus. It all¬†depends¬†on where those plants like to grow.¬†E.g.,¬†Orchids actually grow ON trees, so their ‚Äúsoil‚ÄĚ actually looks like tree bark pieces. (I made the mistake of putting an orchid in normal plant soil and she wasn‚Äôt very happy!)
  • To keep it simple, I recommend planting herbs in a potting soil for herbs.

 

6) Pot or Growing Vessel

 

Personally, I love going to garage sales, second hand shops looking for nice pots for cheap. I like old fashioned clay pots or ones that have shiny stone designs on them. Make sure to clean them well before using them and that there are adequate drainage holes. 

Allowing your child to choose their pot assures more attachment to the process and the plant.

What you might have on hand: 

  • Pots, egg carton, empty Juice Plus+ capsule bottles.

What you can buy:

  • Garden shops or supermarkets have many to choose from.

 

7) Patience and a learning mindset :-)

 

  • The number one thing to keep in mind is that this activity will¬†be messy, dirty and the final product may not look like you expect.¬†
  • The plant may not live or grow :-/ or¬†it might¬†get attacked by mites. Yuck!
  • It is an excellent opportunity to have patience and a learning mindset.¬†
  • Keep trying new things, new sunny spaces, different soil, and experimenting with more or less water. ¬†¬†¬†¬†Even trying without dirt and placing a plant directly into water.
  • Start with one or two plants and then add more to your collection as you get more confident.

    There are so many ways to garden with your children, so be creative! 

    Remember it’s not about the destination (the end goal). 

    It is about the journey and the time you spend with your family.

 

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

 

3 Crafts Your Kids Can Make with Plants

 

Gift a Loved One a Potted Herb Mason Jar.

Plant these herbs and put your favourite recipe on a card. What a personal and thoughtful touch!

Crafts: Make a herb mason jar

  1. Get a larger mason jar with a wide mouth
  2. Buy a seedling and place into mason jar
  3. Gently water it
  4. Tie a ribbon around the jar
  5. Colour a popsicle stick with the plant name on it
  6. Print a recipe that uses that herb

 

 

1) Mint Plant in a Mason Jar

This plant grows so easily and quickly… almost like a weed; it comes back again and again. 

  • Recipe ideas:¬†mint tea, cous¬†cous, or a chocolate mint smoothie.¬†

 

2) Rosemary Plant in a Mason Jar

It is really hard to kill this plant (though I have done it once). Rosemary has a bushy kind of pine look to it. It looks great in the kitchen and smells amazing. 

  • Recipe ideas:¬†add to the roasted chicken tray, place on top of breads and add with olive oil to roasted potatoes

 

3) Oregano Plant in a Mason Jar

The leaves are tiny and adorable and smells amazing when cooking. There’s nothing like fresh oregano smashed into your tomato sauce or on your pizza. 

  • Recipe ideas:¬†grill your favourite veg, slather with your best olive oil and sprinkle the fresh plucked oregano leaves on top. Sprinkle fresh leaves on top of homemade pizza.

Whatever you do, gardening is usually a feel good activity for the whole family. What will you try?

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