Teaching Your Kids about Gardening: An Activity With Multiple Benefits
Spring is finally here and it’s time for gardening. Not only is gardening a great way to enjoy the outdoors and to get a little exercise, but growing vegetables in the backyard assures you the vegetables are fresh and don't have toxic pesticides.
Make Gardening a Family Activity
Why not get the entire family involved? There are plenty of different vegetables you can plant but to gain your children's interest for gardening, you should choose something they can grow and maintain easily, like tomatoes. Tomatoes are popular, and there are plenty of varieties to choose from.
Gardening can be a great way to encourage kids to eat healthier. Most kids will like the idea of eating something they have grown themselves, so even your pickiest eater may soon give in to eating more vegetables.
Getting Down to Business
Although the kids will have fun with gardening projects, you will need to do the heavy stuff, such as clearing the area and preparing the ground. Be sure to choose the right area – for instance, there should be sufficient sunlight.
After you have the ground ready, let your kids help with adding the seeds. It won’t take long for the seeds to flourish and shoots will come through the ground. This can be exciting for everyone involved.
It’s fun to see a plant grow bigger every day. The kids (and you too!) will look forward to seeing the plants produce a fruit or vegetable that will be eaten.
Gardening Teaches Responsibility
Explain to the kids gardening is not simply putting a seed in the ground and waiting for the fruits or vegetables to appear. They have to take care of the plant. They have to make sure it is watered regularly, provided with sufficient nutrients, and constantly inspected to see it is free of insects and bugs.
Instruct them to inform you if they see half-eaten leaves or if the leaves are showing signs of discoloration. Those are indications that the plant should be treated and given some insecticide or pesticide treatment.
Explain to them the dangers of having insects and bugs spreading all over the plants. Teach your kids about the importance of pulling the weeds from around the plants and let them help with this chore.
Show them how to prune plants. Explain to them the benefits and advantages of pruning the plant. Your kids might get worried that cutting off the branches will lessen the amount of fruits on the plant so explain why this is a helpful part of gardening for many plants.
They will be amazed how big and healthy the tomatoes can become. Have them do the harvesting when it comes time to pick the tomatoes. Nothing is more pleasurable than plucking the fruits from the plant and placing them on the dinner table. And in the process your children get to learn some basics about gardening.
From Outdoors to Inside
Aside from gardening, get your children interested in house plants. Children are always busy playing and going out with their friends. So pick a plant that does not need much looking after, but will look elegant and beautiful when it starts blooming.
The Christmas Cactus is a sturdy plant that can tolerate not having water for a very long time. It doesn't need much fertilizer. Leave it in a shady place in your house, like the porch, and it will begin to flower in no time. Your children will enjoy the beautiful flowers. The experience will help them gain some interest for indoor plants.
Keep visiting the Package From Santa for more ideas about family activities and other fun and helpful topics. In the meantime, get your garden started!