Hopefully, spring will arrive soon and put an end to this awful winter. Spring is the perfect time to start thinking about creating a garden with your kids.
Gardening is an excellent activity for children; they can make a mess, they learn about nature and food, and it’s a fun, healthy activity. There are even some studies that suggest kids who garden eat more fruits and vegetables than kids who don’t, so anything that will get kids eating their vegetables has got to be a good thing.
Since there are so many great reasons to give your kids a little patch of land or a few gardening containers and see what they will do with it, we have created a gardening guide for parents and kids featuring everything you need to know to become the best gardeners in the world. Well, not the best gardeners in the world, but we have found lots of fun stuff to help get you started.
How to get started
When starting, you don’t need to get too fancy or ambitious with your garden. Here is a basic plan to get things moving:
- If you are lucky enough to have a bit of extra space in your backyard, give your child their own space. If you don’t have a backyard, you can easily use containers. My kid testers have just used planting containers for the last few years, and they work perfectly.
- Let kids choose what they want to grow so that they will be more invested in the process. Most gardening stores have seed packages that are marketed to kids that contain seed for fruits or vegetables that are fast-growing and appealing for children. Some of the best picks are peas, beans, strawberries, carrots, lettuce, and cherry tomatoes.
- Once kids have chosen what they will be growing, they should take a bit of time to learn about when the right time of the season is to plant each vegetable, fruit, or flower. Most kids/adults will want to grow whatever seeds you have bought immediately (guilty!) and not bother reading the packets about when and where the seeds should be planted.
- Have them prepare the soil for planting. Kids love playing the dirt and will have a great time getting the ground ready for planting.
- Don’t let them forget to water their gardens and monitor what is happening. There is something very satisfying about growing something from a seed that you will ultimately be able to eat. This is particularly true for children.
Gardening Kits and Tools for Kids
There are some unbelievably cute gardening kits and equipment around that are specifically designed for kids. The kits with the metal tools are worth getting even if you are paying a bit more. Generally, metal tools are better quality and feel much more like ‘real’ gardening equipment to kids.
- Kids Garden Toolset with Tote is a cute set for younger kids (ages 2-5). It is a good quality set that has tools with colorful metal ends and wooden handles. It also has a tote bag with lots of handy pockets.
- Let’s Get Started Gardening Kit is a set that is a little different. It’s cool because not only does it have all the necessary tools, it also includes a couple of garden bib aprons and gardening gloves (one apron/set of gloves for the parent and one for the child), a gardening tips booklet and also stickers and stakes. This company offers a couple of other versions of this set. One is for grandmothers and grandchildren called Grammy Let’s Get Started Gardening Kit, and the other one has a hip apron rather than a bib apron, and that one is called the HIP-Ster Gardening Kit.
- Gardener In Training Deluxe Garden Kit is another fun set that is good for kids 4 through 8 years old. It includes two ducky handled gardening tools, an embroidered apron with pockets, and gardening gloves. The devices are metal with plastic handles.
- Toysmith Kid’s Big Tool Set is a set that has child-size versions of real rakes, spade, hoe, and a leaf rake. Most reviewers for this set suggest that it is most suited for kids ages 5-7 since it has sharp edges, so kids will need to be supervised when using.
- Radio Flyer Kid’s Wheelbarrow, your kids will find any number of uses for a wheelbarrow, even if they don’t stick with gardening. This particular wheelbarrow is relatively small, so it’s suitable for kids under 5. It is solid wood handles, a metal bucket, and the front tire is plastic.
Gardening Books for Kids
If you would like a bit of guidance to help get your kids started, there are a lot of gardening books to choose from with fun ideas and projects that kids will love. Here are a few of the most popular ones:
- The Ultimate Step-by-Step Kids’ First Gardening Book is a beautiful book that has more than 150 projects suitable for kids from 5 to 12. An introduction covers all the basics and eight hands-on projects. It also has tips and advice on other topics like edible treats, flowers, fun craft projects, wildlife gardening, and indoor gardening.
- The Book of Gardening Projects for Kids focuses on how parents who already love to garden can help get their kids involved in a family garden. This book is a step-by-step guide that has practical gardening advice, including how to design a play-friendly garden, how to create theme gardens, and how to cook and preserve what you have grown in the garden.
- Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots by Sharon Lovejoy, who is one of the best know gardening writers for kids is a neat book that has 12 ideas for theme gardens that parents and kids can grow together. Each garden includes a plan, the planting recipe — seeds, seedlings, and growing instructions spelled out step-by-step. It also has a chapter on gardening basics includes a child-friendly 10-Minute Plan for planting and maintenance, plus a list of the top 20 plants guaranteed to make gardeners out of kids.
- Project Garden is another excellent book for parents who are trying to get kids involved in creating a family garden. It has simple projects that will get a garden growing at any time of year. There is advice on how to grow practical gardens that work in any space, as well as information on how to plant flowers gardens and vegetable gardens.
An app isn’t something that comes to mind when thinking about gardening, but I came across this gardening app called Plants HD, which is fun and informative for anyone who wants to learn more about plants.
There are lots of ways to get kids gardening; it’s a fun and rewarding activity that is well worth the effort. If you have any gardening tips for kids, please leave them in the comments.