Finding time to do
gardening with
the kids...

 

Finding the time to do gardening with the children

 

We all see the #kidsgardening photos on social media filled with happy children planting, digging or tending to their luscious looking plants! And we all know, in reality children may well spend 5 minutes showing some interest when you’re planting some tomatoes say, but then get either- distracted/bored or have a wobbly because they’d rather be indoors.  What can we do to get them interested and keep them interested in gardening? Especially when time for us is already so stretched…

 

Make it achievable

We know it’s not always feasible to dive straight into digging up the garden and building some raised beds or certainly not take on an allotment-sized plot to grow our own when our lives are so busy.  Start small, if you're just getting into gardening, begin with something like a herb box or planter to grow quick, relatively easy-to-grow crops like lettuce, rocket, radish, peas.  There are so many varieties of these, you could have a pot for each colour or variety and get the children involved in picking out which ones they fancy growing by browsing seed shops online or taking them along to a garden centre.

 

Always involve the kids in planning 

We know kids love taking ownership and this is really important when it involves gardening which can be quite slow to reward us, often with set backs.  These are also really important life lessons - resilience and gardening go hand in hand! Encourage the children to draw their own plans, colour in their garden and let them visualise it.  Think about recipes together their food can then be used in, keeping them focused on the end goal.

 

Keep tasks simple

Break down the tasks and give them the number of tasks they’re going to be completing so expectations are managed and they have a sense of what’s coming up. We’re going to be doing 4 things in the garden this morning…..

  1. We’re going to choose the right size pot for this plant (can you help me pick one?)
  2. We’re going to fill these with compost (after we’re done planting these say tomato plants would you like to make a mini mud pie? – give them something else to look forward to)
  3. We’re going to dig a hole in the soil for the plants and you can help me using your own trowel. (this almost always ends in mud pie making!)
  4. We’re going to check for any weeds in the garden and pull them out – help them spot weeds, explaining why we need to pull them out, weeds take out the goodness in the soil that the vegetables need so I need your help to pull these out. (these will also inevitably end up in a mud pie!)

 

Keep them accountable 

Literally put their name to it, use a wooden plant label or recycle an old yogurt pot and use a permanent pen for the children to write their name, what they're growing and a picture too, stick the label in their sown seed or seedling.

Keeping a log or diary of what they're growing helps, keep it on the fridge or somewhere to remind them what they're growing.

Keep reminding them, that what they grow, they can eat (we know home grown always tastes better than supermarket bought, but when the kids grow fruit or veg themselves, according to them, it always somehow tastes even better!)

I would even let a plant die ☹ sad but if we're watering the plants every day and not involving the kids or encouraging them to water, the kids lose interest and they're not going to be motivated to continue growing their own and tending to their plants.

 

Have a competition

What child doesn’t love to compete! When choosing their plant/vegetable to grow you could set up a few pots with your name, their name, any siblings on each plant label. Keep track of whose is growing the tallest, strongest, fastest, grows the most fruit/veg etc. Check in every week and make a point of comparing each plant – points for discussion-

-why do you think this plant is growing more than the other?

-could it be more sun, too much/not enough water, pot is too small/too big, it’s too warm or cold for the plant?

And enjoy :) enjoy time together with the kids, off the screen and outdoors doing something good for the soul, mind and growing healthy food to enjoy eating together.

 

 

Do you have any other ideas you use to involve the kids in gardening? Please share with us on the My Mini Garden community on Facebook or Instagram.

 

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"Gardening covers so many parts of the curriculum, maths, science, art, physical exercise and very importantly, team work. It is the perfect vehicle for hands on learning."

 Chris Collins, Lead Ambassador National Children’s Gardening Week

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