If you have children or friends with children, there are many ways in which you can get them engaged and involved with the garden. If we teach them while they’re young, we can instill in them a love for nature and gardening for when they get older. Here are a few tips we can suggest
Engage the Senses
Give kids plenty of opportunities to see, smell, touch, taste, and feel the plants and environment around them. Go out in the morning and look for birds and insects. Ask them what they smell when they’re outside and when they’re digging in the soil. Get them to feel the textures of different plants, including pine needles, fresh/dry leaves, the density of the soil. Can they hear the rustling of the wind, birds calling to their mates, the mud squishing under their boots or in their fingers?
Provide Age Appropriate Tasks
Kids love to help out in the garden, from watering the plants, to harvesting tomatoes and beyond. The more they are engaged, the more likely they will stick with the garden and eat the produce that they grow. For young children, this can include choosing the colour of flowers and tomatoes they will be growing or watering the plants every couple of days. As kids get older, they can help with weeding, spraying natural pest control products if harmful bugs are found and writing a song/poem about the garden. Some kids thrive when given their own gardening plot and the freedom to choose what to grow and tend to it themselves over the season.
Eat, Cook, and Enjoy the Harvest
Finally, we couldn’t end this task without getting kids involved in harvesting and eating the produce. This can turn into a cooking lesson and lead into a discussion about our food system and how many farmers and people are involved in getting food to the grocery store vs the local farmers market.
With a bit a creativity, kids can get involved in all aspects of the garden and develop a lifelong appreciation of spending time outdoors in nature.