Authored by Sandy Rothra in Gardening
Published on 01-14-2010
Include the children, from the beginning, when creating their garden plans. As you work with the children, in designing and planning, you may be surprised at some of their original ideas. When included in initial decisions, children will be enthusiastic and interested in growing vegetables. Children that grow their own vegetables are more inclined to eat them.
Create a Garden Plan
Your garden plan for a child should specify the area. For a small child, a small section of the family garden will do. It may only be three feet square, but it must be segregated and belong to the child. Let your child help choose the location and discuss the benefits of each. Talk about the needs of the plants and consider possible problems. Is it near water? Is there enough sunlight? Is it protected from small animals?
Choose the Plants
Garden plans for children should include plants that they already like to eat. The choices should be easy to grow from seeds. A very young child may work better with large seeds like pumpkins, beans or zucchini. He can plant them into the ground himself, and they grow quickly. Other plants, that grow quickly, are parsley, radishes, catnip and spinach. Add some flowers for color. Take your child with you to the nursery when you purchase the seeds or transplants. Allow your child to graze from the garden. He will learn to like raw vegetables if he can pick a spinach leaf or string bean and nibble it right in his own garden.
Add crafts to the Garden
To encourage continuing interest in the garden during, the growing period, try simple activities related to his garden. Children can make row markers and simple signs to designate plant locations. A large sign, with his name, will give him a sense of ownership. Garden plans may include a fence or border. Even a very small child can construct a rock border around his garden. Add color by painting some of the rocks or signs. Decorate his garden with colorful planters that he painted himself. Children will learn problem solving by creating methods to keep birds and small animals from eating the sprouts as they appear. Make a small scarecrow or add wind chimes or bells to scare them away.
Your child should pick his own vegetables. He may even be interested in washing and cooking the produce from his garden. Depending on his age, this is a great opportunity for him to learn meal planning, cooking and basics of nutrition.
Garden plans for children will encourage their knowledge and interest in nature, their understanding of the balance of nature and their problem solving skills. Because children like playing in dirt, they will enjoy planting the seeds and keeping the garden weed free. They will have the opportunity of observing caterpillars, bees, snails, slugs and worms. These may not appeal to us, but children will love it.