The sun is shining, the birds are chirping – it’s time to get out in the garden again! Gardening’s not just good for your soul – it’s good for your kids’ souls, too. Kids can help water, weed, plant, and harvest and spending time together, outside, is therapeutic and oh-so healthy! Gardening also teaches things like patience, nurturing, and responsibility. This year, include your kiddos in the fun with the simple together-time gardening ideas below:
Butterfly Blossoms –
Itty bitties love insects! Encourage your kids’ love of gardening by planting flowers that attract beautiful butterflies to your yard. Butterflies love to munch on nectar-rich plants like wildflowers and choose to lay their eggs on plants like dill, fennel, and milkweed. The plants butterflies love vary from region to region – a quick online search will tell you what to plant. No matter what you choose, be sure to avoid pesticides and to plant in a sheltered area that will hide caterpillars and butterflies from predators. A water feature or even small puddles will attract butterflies to your garden – they get thirsty, too! Visit your plants every day, checking for butterflies laying eggs, caterpillars, and cocoons. If you’re very lucky, you might even catch a fresh butterfly emerging from its chrysalis.
Worm Hunt –
Another note on the creepy crawlies – worms! Worms are squiggly, wiggly, and wonderful. They help our plants root and thrive, they recycle food scraps into compost, and, best of all, most kids love them. Take some time out of your gardening duties to host an earthworm hunt! They love dark, damp places, so check under rocks and logs, turning the dry top layer of soil carefully with a small shovel. Hold them and admire them, then place them back in the damp soil, covering them with a layer of top soil so they don’t dry out.
Hanging Garden –
If you’re short on backyard space or just looking for a fun, self-contained project, try a vertical bottle garden! Start by cutting a rectangle of plastic out of one side of a clean, empty soda bottle. Punch a small hole on the same side as the opening, near the base of the bottle, and a few small holes on the underside, opposite the rectangular opening. Then, with the cap on, place a shallow layer of gravel or pebbles, followed by a layer of soil. Plant anything from small, leafy veggies to herbs and hang, stringing twine from the hole on one end and just below the cap on the other. Pick a sunny spot and watch your vertical garden grow!
Garden Labels –
Add a touch of arts and crafts to your outdoor gardening fun with handmade labels! Your kids can write each plant’s name in marker on a craft stick or collect small rocks and paint the name of the plant – and a picture of the final product – on the rocks. Let your kids place the labels in the appropriate spots, helping them learn what’s what in the garden.
Gardening doesn’t have to take place outside and it doesn’t even have to require dirt! Teach your kids about the amazing properties of hydroponics with a kit like the GeoSafari® Hydroponics Kit. Hydroponics involves the growing of plants in water, which provides a crystal clear, magnified view of the entire root structure. Keep your rooted plants in the kitchen or near another light source and check on their growth daily.
For more fun ideas about gardening with your kids, visit our Pinterest page (don’t forget to follow us!). Do your kids garden with you? What’s their favorite part? Let us know in the comments below.