By: Alek Sabin
Learning to respect the Earth and grow your own food are two values and skills that every child should learn while they are growing up. But it’s also a skill that a lot of us as employees or business owners should have as well. Not only does this make them more environmentally conscious about our connection and dependence with the Earth, but it also shows them how to nurture life and makes them more thoughtful about the food that they eat. However, gardening involves something that nearly every child will surely groan about: patience. Getting children excited about gardening projects will help instill them with these principles, and also will show them the value of waiting and keeping up with something until it is finished. Here are some good beginning gardening projects you can do with your kids…
A great project that covers many aspects of gardening is having them help you with hanging tomatoes. This is a good project for people who live in apartments, or a home with little yard space, or even just for parents who would like to have the gardening project in their child’s room. Rather than purchasing planters, show your child the joys of recycling by cutting plastic bottles in half to make your own hanging planters. Your child will be in awe every day as they watch the tomatoes grow upside down inside! Make sure that you hang by a window, as these plants will still need plenty of sunlight.
If you want to add some color to your garden, start by showing your child how to plant perennials. Perennials are a relatively easy plant to grow, and are great for beginners who are prone to mistakes (and what kid isn’t). If you don’t want to wait until spring to teach your kids about gardening, this is a great option, as there are actually advantages to planting perennials in the fall. Bulbs and perennials are hardy plants that can be grown right before winter, where they will stay dormant until the start of spring (read this article here, for more information about how to do this). Perennials also show kids that there is more to gardening than just getting food, and that nature has plenty of beauty to offer!
Egg carton planters
Growing an assortment of small plants, such as easy-to-grow herbs, will show your child a variety of options that can be grown. A fun, creative way to do this is to take an egg carton and fill each egg spot with healthy soil. Take a few seeds of smaller plants and grow one in each of the slots. This is a fun project that your child can keep in their room and watch grow, and is a great way to show them how household object can be reused and reimagined in fun and creative ways!
Butterflies are terrific bugs to have around the garden, as they are an important part of the life-cycle of insect-pollinated plants. However, caterpillars can be a problem for your garden, as they thrive on ruining everything you are trying to grow. Not to worry, though! There’s a great project for your child that can give you butterflies without having to deal with more caterpillars. Purchasing caterpillars and raising them in an environment is a great way to show your kid how to take care of something. As the caterpillar grows larger and begins to form its cocoon, your child will look on in amazement as it transforms into a butterfly that you can release into your yard!
When a child gets to enjoy the fruits of their labor, it teaches them an important lesson of work and rewards. Although this is inherent in many things that you can grow with their children, as they can eat what they grow, pumpkins are so much more! Sure, you can make a pumpkin into plenty of healthy, hearty meals, but you can also have your child grow their very own pumpkin and make it into a Jack-o-Lantern next Halloween! This adds a fun, seasonal touch to showing your child how to garden.