Gardening with Kids: Age-Appropriate Activities

Gardening with Kids: Age-Appropriate Activities

Working in the garden with your kids is a great joy, and I’m sure all of the parents out there will agree with me. Teaching your children the ropes of gardening since they are young will nurture the love for nature and perhaps even for physical labor. The best thing, however, is that gardening can be educational for a child.

However, you shouldn’t rush to instill your beloved offspring with your passion as being too active may have a completely opposite effect. We, adults, tend to forget that children feel differently, so the things we consider fun and light may be very different for them. In this regard, gardening should be treated as any other hobby. Just think about it, you don’t send your 5 year old child to a violin lesson several hours long, right? Moderation is one of the most important things you will need to keep in mind if you want to teach your children enjoy gardening. Otherwise, they will come to resent it, as they would music or any other lesson they see as too hard.

The tools you will use together are another important issue. For example, everyone understands that a high-quality violin will sound better than a mediocre one, and it’s the same for gardening tools. However, it’s not only the matter of quality when it comes to “children friendly” gardening.

To follow with our previous musical example, just click here to see what violins for kids look like. They are different, right? In essence, these instruments are the same, but their size, weight, and even color play a very important part in keeping the child interested. The first two factors are obvious as kids are smaller and simply won’t be able to play a heavy adult instrument. However, the design matters as well, especially for younger children. I advise you to look for colorful kiddy gardening kits with all kinds of cool prints. Your little ones should see these things as toys, instead of work tools.

It’s not only the “equipment” children use that must be age-appropriate. The things you will do together also have to be tailored to the child’s needs. Here are some suggestions of fun gardening activities for children of different ages:

  • 1-3 years.
    Children so young definitely won’t be able to do any “work”, but they will enjoy exploring soil and plants. You can treat a walk through your garden as an educational expedition, teaching your kid about different surfaces, colors, plants, etc.
  • 3-5 years.
    This is the age of true explorers. At this time, you can expand the scope of your “expedition” to cover names of specific plants, insects, etc. It’s also a good time to teach the child the basics of watering and planting flowers.
  • 5-7 years.
    This is a good age for planting and picking various plants. Let your kids see how the flowers/berries/veggies they planted grow and explain the processes behind the changes they can see.
  • 7-9 years.
    This is the perfect age for building fortresses in hedges and growing special secret gardens inspired by fairy tales.
  • 9-12 years.
    At this age, children get interested in farming as they like to grow things on their own. Be a guide and an advisor and allow your kids to experiment with different plants.