Getting the kids into gardening is pretty easy. Here are some great ideas to get them outside and having fun.
1. What they'll learn
Gardening teaches kids lots of things:
- A love of nature and the environment
- Understanding where food comes from
- How to care for plants
- The joy of reaching their goals
2. When to get them involved
- Kids of all ages like gardening, but what they get out of it changes as they grow older.
- 0-3: Just getting out there and enjoying the sights, sounds, smells and colours.
- 3-4: This is the perfect age for them to help with picking fruit and vegetables, mulching, weeding, catching insects and making mud pies.
- 5-7: You can give them their own little patch of garden where they’re in charge of looking after the plants.
- 8+: You can now start to involve them in planning the garden, preparing the soil, choosing plants, planting them, caring for and harvesting them.
Remember, keep it fun and keep it simple. As soon as it feels like hard work the kids will lose interest.
3. Make a space for the kids
Kids love a space they can call their own, so set aside an area just for them. In small spaces, a few pots and containers will be enough. If you have more room, create a raised garden bed, no higher than 40cm. This stops the kids walking on the plants yet still makes everything easy to reach. Remember, raised beds should only be built with hard woods, never use treated pine as it contains arsenic.
4. Preparing the garden
Pick your spot and then get the kids to help you weed it before adding some organic matter like compost. This will help the drainage and aeration, which in turn will help better plant growth.
5. Choosing your plants
Big, brightly coloured flowers and tasty fruit and veg are the best choice. Check out our Garden Calendar to find what grows best in your area first, but here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Cherry Tomatoes
6. Caring for the plants
First, be sure to have tools and gloves that are the right size for kids. Then a small watering can or bucket with a pouring spout so you don’t waste water.
7. Other things you can do
There's always plenty for kids to do in the garden while you wait for plants to grow, such as:
- Making compost
- Starting a worm farm
- Making a scarecrow
- Replanting and re-potting
- Craft activities with things you find in the garden
Play it safe in the garden:
- Garden organically and avoid using any chemicals.
- Make sure there's lots of shade, especially in summer, and always have the kids wear hats and use plenty of sunscreen.
- Encourage kids to look at animals and insects but remember to let them know what is and isn't safe to touch.
- Wear gloves and a disposable face mask when handling potting mix.