How to Get Kids Started With Gardening

Gardening is a great hobby for kids, especially if you’re also a fan of this activity. Gardening helps kids to develop life skills, as well as improve their mental health and self-esteem. Sounds great, right? It can be a bit daunting, however, when you’re just starting out.

Nonetheless, there are a ton of little projects you can start on – even in the dead of winter! It doesn’t have to be (and probably shouldn’t be) grandiose. Start small. Here are some ways to start gardening with your little one(s):

Watercress // 

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The first point of contact any of us usually have with gardening is through watercress eggheads! This is great as it gets kids thinking creatively about how they decorate their eggs, and shows them what goes into growing herbs and vegetables. You can find a step-by-step tutorial on how to get started here!

Herb garden // 

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If you have a little space to plant some herbs, why not give your child the responsibility of caring for them! You can print out little cards detailing the sun, water and soil necessities for each herb, and guide them to making the growing conditions ideal for their plant. This also gets kids involved in the kitchen, as they’ll be eager to have their herbs included in family meals!

Indoor garden // 

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For these winter days, an indoor garden is a great place to start with gardening. You don’t have to wait till spring to get your little ones excited about gardening! Get a few pots, replant them and assign responsibilities. Make sure your kids know what they need to do and give them little reminders every so often to help them on their way. Let the kids choose their plants, placement and pots.

Their own box //

Students at High Shoals elementary plant for the second time with the help of Dean Angle. Nov. 2011. Photo by April Sorrow

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If you’re an avid gardener, you probably already have an established garden with raised beds and boxes. Once your kid is a little bit more comfortable with caring for plants and gardening in general, give them their own space to experiment with the plants they like. Give them free reign to care for them as they like. However, you provide an example for them so when you care properly for your garden, so do your kids.

Let them choose // 

Children thrive when they are given clear scopes for their activities, responsibilities and consequences. So at every step of the way, they should be deciding how much time to spend on their projects, what kind of plants they want to grow, etc. With your guidance of course!

If you’re an absolute beginner with gardening but still want to get started with your kids, you might find some guidance from an experienced gardener useful! You can ask them for a bit of guidance for a one-time fee, to get you started on your own. Compare local gardeners in your area here.

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