Keen to help your kids cultivate a love of gardening? Here are 5 tips to help them get in touch with their inner greenthumbs.
Here are our tips to grow your kids into life-long gardeners, no matter where they’re at on their journey.
Some kids are natural green thumbs, but others may need a little help to sprout their own love of gardening.
Grow stuff your kids will love to eat, especially straight from the garden. Children are natural foragers. While they may turn their nose up at whatever appears on their dinner plate, crabapples, soursop and other foraged delights always seem to be on their menu!
The best things to grow are things that can be eaten fresh from the garden. There’s nothing quite like seeing a reluctant gardener fossicking around for snow peas without being asked to. Then gobbling them up before they make it inside.
Our top snackable plants for kids:
- Sweet fresh podded baby peas
- Alpine strawberries
- Snow peas
- Cherry tomatoes
- And of course, fruit trees!
It’s not all about eating though. Kids love showy flowers. And while they might not always be top of the productive gardener’s list, allowing your child to indulge their love of flowers has multiple benefits.
Allowing kids to choose a few bulbs or potted colour plants they love will help them feel invested in your patch of earth. And you’ll get an even more beautiful garden than you normally would. The bees will thank you, too.
Many flowers that grow from bulbs or rhizomes can also provide great teachable moments. They demonstrate life-cycles and the different triggers of the seasons in a simple (and beautiful) way.
Gardening with friends
Make gardening social by joining a community garden, a weeding group or even your local veggie swap.
Gardening with friends is fun and chances are there will be other little ones around for your kids to connect with. Playing and having fun in gardening spaces is another way to set kids up for a life of greenery, by osmosis.
If your child is an animal lover, then this can be a great hook to get them involved in a productive garden.
If you don’t have much room, mini-beasts can be lots of fun too. And it doesn’t just stop with keeping a worm farm. Try raising silkworms (this will force kids to become experts at spotting mulberry trees in your neighbourhood).
Build an insect hotel or make a bee-friendly planter and allow your child to experience the world as a garden.
Give them a garden
Give your child some ownership over the garden, even if it’s just a tiny bit. Let your child choose plants when you’re shopping for seeds or at the garden centre.
Better yet, give them a patch of earth all of their own to tend – even a little pot just for them.
Sometimes children, particularly younger ones, can be a bit gung-ho in a veggie patch. Resist the urge to bar them from participating. Instead, use this as an opportunity to teach the right way to treat plants. The collateral damage of a few trampled seedlings or broken branches is worth it.
And when it all seems too hard?
Competing with screentime, homework and the rush to-and-from school can be a challenge. Remember that simply by being enthusiastic about gardening and opening your child’s eyes to where their food comes from is really enough. This will set them in good stead to love and value the world as a garden.