When you get a lot of satisfaction out of an activity, you naturally want to share it with the people around you. If you have kids, showing them your hobbies is one of the nicest parts of parenting, and gardening is no different. What’s more, instilling a love of the outdoors in children when they’re young means they are much more likely to enjoy this activity long-term.
So, how do you get kids involved in the garden?
One of the best ways to involve kids in gardening is to grow vegetables. Not only does this provide a tangible output from your labours for children to enjoy but it’ll also give you an opportunity to discuss food, diets, and healthy lifestyles.
To help you get started, here are some top tips on planning and growing vegetables that can help you get your kids interested in gardening. From enjoying the end products – with some great recipes for kids – and teaching them all about nature and the great outdoors, there are plenty of benefits on offer.
Step 1: Immerse them fully
The most important thing about getting children enthused about a new activity is making sure they feel fully included from the start. Once little ones have a sense of ownership over a project they are much more likely to stay involved.
Begin by talking to your children about plans for your garden or allotment and get their ideas about what to grow. They could even help you draw up a plan of what you new garden will look like and where different vegetables and plants will be grown. Go through vegetable recipe books and look at pictures on the internet so they can choose which veggies they want to go – and which recipes they want to make at the end of it!
Step 2: Plant the seeds
Young kids need fairly constant stimuli to stay interested in a task. Fail to excite them and you may find that they lose interest or become distracted by other activities. Sow the seeds of creativity and intrigue by getting your little ones to take an active role in the next stages of your gardening. Have them plant the seeds (teaching them about correct spacing and different soil types) and talk them through each of your decisions to keep these sessions educational and fun.
Once planted, you can get your children to document the growth of their seedlings. Get them to write notes in a special book and even taking photographs to show how well their little plants are doing. You can even make it an experiment by seeing if the same plants grow at different speeds depending on where they are planted, how much water they get, or what soil they are planted in.
Step 3: Enjoy the fruits
Once your home-grown food is ready to eat, it is time for you and the kids to the enjoy the fruits of your labour. Involve your children as much as possible by getting them to dig up ripe vegetables and collect a small harvest to take back home.
Once you’ve got your fresh ingredients in the kitchen, there are loads of innovative ways to cook with them. With household gadgets able to help you create everything from popcorn to slush puppies, you’ll never run out of ideas so why not try combining interesting flavours and other ingredients to develop some new and interesting recipes for kids?
Lots of carrots? Try grating and dressing your chilli tomato sauce with them. Add some feta and a splash of lemon juice and you’re done. Lots of courgettes? You can make some really exciting recipes for kids with this humble vegetable – combine with yogurt, garlic, salt and pepper before putting on crackers for a super yummy snack. Whatever recipe you decide to make, just remember to get your kids involved in the cooking process – not to mention the taste testing!
Growing a love of gardening
There are so many things you can do with fresh home grown veg. By getting children involved in the gardening process you’ll make them enthused about growing their own veggies for life and also help them to develop practical skills that get them having fun outdoors and breathing fresh air.
This is one of the greatest gifts you could give them as a parent, so get started and see what you can grow. You might just surprise yourself…