Kids love getting dirty. Get them in the garden!
My son is five years old, and he is a bright, happy, hilarious kid. He started planning our family’s vegetable garden in February. Now, his mother works for a gardening company, so this isn’t terribly surprising, but your kid, too, could be crazy for veggie gardening. The best part of this is that it gives your family something to do together, and everyone gets to be part of growing the food your family will eat. An early introduction to the process of planting, caring for the plants, and waiting and watching them grow is not such a bad thing.
Kids, as a general rule, love two things that are vital to gardens: dirt and water. Of course, we gardeners call dirt “soil” and can even be heard to refer to water as “irrigation,” but the bottom line is that digging in the dirt and playing in the water is way fun when you’re a little kid. (It’s fun when you’re a big kid, too.)
Kids also tend to be awed by plants. They really are amazing things. And it’s a pretty big realization that tomatoes do not grow in those boxes you see at the grocery store. Learning where food comes from is cool!
The biggest trick to gardening with kids, and keeping your kids excited about gardening, is keeping it fun for you and for them. If you have very little kids, be prepared that they aren’t necessarily going to be a lot of help in the garden – and that’s okay. My son’s favorite part of “gardening” is really digging holes and looking at worms, but it’s a start. Kid-sized gloves and tools, and really cool watering cans, can also go a long way toward keeping your kids interested.
Kids are more likely to eat – or at least try – veggies if they’ve helped to grow and pick them; they'll feel some sense of accomplishment and pride. So if you encourage them to dig in the garden, they just might be more likely to dig into their dinners.
Do you garden with your kids?