Teach a Child to Garden
To paraphrase an old adage, "Teach a 'child' to fish and you'll feed him for life… or you might teach him (or her) to grow a garden!
Regardless of the season, few things are more magical – especially to kids – than making something grow in a garden. No doubt about it, spring is the perfect time to plant a garden with your children. Teaching your children to garden is educational, good exercise, and a great bonding activity for the entire family.
- Plant a small vegetable plot around a theme.
Grow a pizza garden with tomatoes and herbs or plant a salsa garden with hot peppers, onions and tomatoes.
- Birdbath or bird feeder garden.
Firmly anchor a tomato cage to the ground. Help your child plant vining plants such as morning glories around the bottom. Put a plastic plant saucer inside the top ring of the cage. Fill the saucer with water for a birdbath or birdseed to make an easy and inexpensive bird feeder.
- Create a butterfly garden with bright flowers and butterfly 'food'.
A butterfly feeder is one of the most popular gardening ideas. If you have ever been to a botanical garden, chances are you have seen one of these. To create a butterfly feeder, take a plastic pot saucer, sand, and about 1 tablespoon of cow or horse manure with an overripe piece of banana, apple, or pear. Place the sand and manure in the saucer with a small amount of water then add your fruit. When you have finished, the butterflies will come!
- Build a bean teepee.
A bean tee pee brings awesome results and best of all, is easy to make. You'll need stakes or bamboo poles that are twelve feet long. Arrange them in teepee style in a 5-foot circle, pushing the ends into the ground. Be sure to leave enough room for a small entrance. Tie the tops of the teepee together with heavy twine or masking tape. Plant pole beans or seeds of other climbing plants at the base of the teepee. In a couple of months, the teepee will be covered with beans, leaves, and vines and your children will have a shady playhouse throughout the growing season as well!
- Make a grass snake.
Fill a sock with dirt and grass seed, then place it in the sun and keep it damp. In a week or two, you'll have a grass snake with green hair!
- Make a scarecrow for your children's garden.
Let your child lie down on a large piece of cardboards and assume a pose. Trace around the child and then let him or her cutout the outline. Decorate your scarecrow with yarn, waterproof markers, funny eyes, and old pieces of clothing. When you finish mount your scarecrow on a stake.
Make gardening and learning fun for kids.
Planting a garden introduces your kids to the satisfaction of watching things grow, but gardening is ripe with scientific opportunities as well. Use the ideas below to introduce the science of gardening to your children.
- – Use a digital camera or camcorder to record the progress in the garden and learn more about nature and photography.
- – Place a rain gauge in your child's garden.
- – Study any insects that come and find out what they do.
- – Research about vegetables, fruits, and flowers on the Internet.
Tending Your Children's Garden
In a word - don't! A large part of the satisfaction of gardening comes from knowing that what you do helps your plants to grow. Of course, you can't forget about watering, weeding, and garden care, but you can establish a regular schedule for your children to take care of their garden and just make sure you are nearby to help, if your help is needed.
Gardening with your children makes for excellent quality family time. In addition, while teaching your children how to grow plants, you provide them with a wholesome outdoor activity that helps them to grow as well!