5 Simple Tips for Gardening With Children

5 Real Life Tips for Gardening with Real Life Kids

Children love to make things grow. Parents, grandparents, teachers, and anyone who is responsible for watching children could and should take advantage of this natural fascination for the botanical kingdom.

I’m not going to give you any hidden secrets or amazing tips for how to garden with children. In fact, most of my gardening attempts have been failures, but my gardening with my children has been memorable and fun. There are no how-to lessons here, merely a little guidance about the philosophy behind creating garden lovers of all ages.

Five Real Life Tips for Gardening With Children

1. Please don’t wait for the perfect scenario in life to start gardening with your children. If you wait until they can have their own plot of land, it may never happen. You don’t need acreage to start a garden. Our first child had a small garden on the balcony of our micro-apartment, and watered it every day, much to the chagrin of the downstairs neighbors. Sorry, Mr. Hernandez! It was nothing fancy, but it was ours.

2. Please do not be afraid of dirt. Dirt is uber-important (what does uber mean?) to the development of healthy immune systems. In fact, our daughter’s doctor prescribed her soil-based supplements to help manage her autoimmune disease. Interesting, eh? Wash their hands before dinner, but otherwise, chill out!

3. Keep it simple. Some lima beans and a washed-out pickle jar would be a nice start. Chia seeds–fun! A cheap bag of flower seeds from an end of season sale and a tray full of dirt–awesomeness! Simple is excellent. Just do something!

4. Don’t hover. Let your child pick the seeds, scoop the dirt, plant, water, and harvest. It won’t be perfect. So your daughter picks every flower she planted and puts them in her pocket to save for the sweet lady in church. That’s wonderful! So your son eats every pea pod and cherry tomato as soon as they appear. Okay! So they over-water and prune a little exuberantly. It’s a learning experience you can use to teach, but don’t ruin the enthusiasm in the process.

5. Celebrate the successes. Sometimes things don’t turn out the way we intended, but find something positive about the experience and celebrate the seeds that sprouted or the one strawberry that grew.

These are little steps for little hands in little gardens, but they can be applied to many ages and situations. Most importantly, make it a positive experience.

What are your experiences and best tips for gardening with kids?

10 thoughts on “5 Simple Tips for Gardening With Children”

  1. I remember two gardening experiences as a kid:

    One was with my grandmother, and everything had to be perfect. As much as I loved my grandma, I hated gardening with her. I accidentally weeded out the carrots once, and she banned me from the garden. I wasn’t sad. I was actually relieved.

    The other was with my neighbor. She called me over one day and showed me some pots and some dirt patches and a bunch of seeds that were porbably older than I was. I planted whatever she had wherever I wanted and she sat and chatted with me and pet her cat and sometimes hobbled off to bring me a cookie or some lemonade. Her garden didn’t produce as well as my grandmother’s did, but she sure gave me a love for making things grow. Eventually, we took a class together and learned how to garden “properly,” but if she hadn’t instilled that love of gardening in me, I never would have taken that class.

    Anyway, great tips. I’m glad you’re back. It’s been fun reading your posts again!

  2. Oh this is so true. Our daughter’s first gardening experiences were on our micro-apartment porch too. She would go out and help me water everything…much to the chagrin of our downstairs neighbors! When we moved into a townhome she promptly buried herself in the backyard dirt. She was so happy I took a picture. She’s about 4 laying in the dirt. She’s sprinkled some of it on her stomach and is clasping her hands with a look of pure bliss on her face. I love that pic! Now at age 11 she’s in charge of beneficial bugs for the garden.

    1. That’s wonderful! Isn’t it fun to watch them grow and see their interests and talents blossom. No pun intended. That’s not true–pun totally intended!

Leave a Reply