You love your garden, and you want your kids or grandkids to love it too! Luckily, there are some easy ways to get the little ones (and even the teenaged ones!) away from their screens and into some fresh air for a little gardening fun.
In this blog we list our best tips for getting the kids involved in gardening.
We’ve broken it down by ages, because - let’s face it - getting a 5 year old interested in gardening will take a whole different approach than the 14 year old.
Let’s Start With The Little Ones (4 years old to 8 years old):
Alright, getting kids this age to participate in gardening isn’t going to be too much of a challenge. They’re going to be so happy to be with you in the garden that they won’t need any convincing that this is the most fun thing they could possibly do.
The real question is how do you get these kids involved in a way that is helpful and not chaotic for you?
Kids Gardening Tip #1: Break everything down into small steps
Kids at this age want to help! But, they get overwhelmed easily. To avoid the emotional breakdowns, you can help them by breaking down tasks into small steps. For instance, if the task is picking the ripe tomatoes off the vine, you might break it down into the following steps:
- Show them how to identify a ripe tomato
- Have them point to all of the ripe tomatoes on the vine (and have them count for extra fun!)
- Ask them to help you pick the tomatoes one-by-one together
Make sure to give directions clearly so that there’s no confusion about what they should do.
Kids Gardening Tip #2 Give them responsibility
The little ones can actually do more than you think, so give them a little bit of space - and plenty of encouragement - and watch them amaze you!
Kids Gardening Tip #3: Trust and Patience
If you’ve got really young children in the garden with you, chances are, they’re not going to be engaged 100% of the time. They will get distracted. Their growing brains will get tired from all the new information. They’ll ask you questions about things that are off-topic.
It can be helpful to take some extra tools to the garden with you to keep your kids entertained when they’ve lost interest. Sidewalk chalk, a magnifying glass to take a closer look at butterflies and flowers, or even their favorite book will ensure that they’re enjoying their time outside with you, even if their not actively gardening. They’ll come back eventually, trust us.
The pre-teens or tweens (9 years old to 12 years old):
This is an age group that can have more responsibility in the garden and will actually enjoy more of a challenge. Here are some tips for those pre-teen gardeners:
Tweens Gardening Tip #1: Be ready to share a lot more information
This age is hungry for facts and knowledge, and the garden is a wonderful place for them to learn about the natural world. They may not start off with a list of questions (although some do!) so be willing to talk to them about how the garden works.
Tweens Gardening Tip #2: Give them their own area to call their own
This is an age when kids start to become more independent, and this is a great opportunity for you to help them build confidence through their work in the garden. Give them their own plot of land, help them design and plan out their garden, and give them all the support and praise you can.
Tweens Gardening Tip #3: Encourage them to bring friends
These kiddos are going to love the chance to show their friends that they have their own personal garden. You’ll have much more buy-in when they’re able to share their accomplishments and challenges with their friends, and you’ll instantly become the cool parent or grandparent even when they’re not in the garden.
The real challenge (13 years old to 18 years old):
It can seem like an impossible task to try to get a teenager off the couch and into the garden, but it can be done! Here are our tips for involving teenagers in gardening:
Teens Gardening Tip #1: Start with the relationship
The teenage years are all about figuring out who they are and where they fit in the world, and one of the best things that you can do for them during this time is to provide a listening ear. Gardening is a great avenue for relationship-building because you have the opportunity to ask your teen about their life, their likes, their challenges, and their thoughts on the future.
Teens Gardening Tip #2: Don’t nag, invite
If you approach your teen with the phrase, “I want you to start doing gardening,” they’ll likely view it as a chore or an obligation. Instead, you might ask them if they’d be interested in taking over a portion of the gardening, and then offering guidance and support if they say yes.
You’ll have more engagement from a teen who feels they had an equal say in getting involved in the gardening.
Teens Gardening Tip #3: Have them plant foods instead of flowers or shrubs
Tomatoes, corn, radishes, carrots and other food sources will be more engaging for a teen who is - as you probably know - pretty food oriented.
Tasks That Will Definitely Get Kids Involved in Gardening
On the first day, you don’t want to have a child doing a labour-intensive, complicated gardening task that will turn them off of gardening forever. Instead, think about the things that you do in the garden that are most enjoyable to you. Your kids or grandkids will see how enthusiastic about the task, and they’ll be just as hooked.
Here are some ideas of other enjoyable, accessible activities that are sure to draw in your kids or grandkids:
- Plant new flowers, or flowering fruit trees
- Plant succulents - these hardy plants come in a variety of interesting and beautiful shapes and sizes
- Make a bird feeder or butterfly feeder
- Paint pots and signs
- Harvest ripened fruit and vegetables
Getting kids involved in gardening is truly a gift for you and for them. As you can see, there are plenty of ways to make sure kids of any age enjoy their time in the garden while learning important skills that they’ll carry with them throughout their lifetime.
Why not consider turning your Garden Shed into backyard play space for the kids? Find out all our tips on that here.
So get to the garden, and have some fun! Browse our range of Garden Sheds for all your garden storage needs here.