“Getting Kids Involved With Gardening” by Great Big Plants

I found this interesting message on the Blog of the company GREAT BIG PLANTS
Address: 4405 South Litchfield Road
Avondale, AZ 85323 – USA
Telephone: 001-877-4BIOSCI
Email: Info@GreatBigPlants.com

Planting and gardening is a passion for many people, but have you ever thought about getting your kids involved? You would be teaching them valuable things to take with them into adulthood such as responsibility and hard work. Above that, you will also be spending time with your child and bonding. What are some things you can do to get your children involved and having fun while doing it? Start by letting them choose a favorite houseplant to grow from ground up. It could be a project for them where they take pictures of its progress and post it on a big poster board or construction paper. They could even experiment with two different plants and try different fertilizers, lighting, etc. and compare them. This could easily be a school science project.
If you have a vegetable garden outside, let them start their own favorite plant, like tomatoes. Give them advice when they need it and guide them along the way. Tell them that when they get ripe plants, you will make a special dish out of them. They’ll be proud that they have done something by themselves, and that they get to eat something they grew. Decorate the garden. They could draw pictures of their plant and put it on posts next to their plants. Let them be creative and have fun!
Have them help you when you garden. Make them feel like they are really helping you a great deal. It can be as simple as watering.
These are just a few ways to get your kids involved. The important thing is that they have fun and learn something while doing it. The more creative it is for the child, the more fun it can be for both of you.

This is an amazing coincidence! Today, Hans STROCK has sent me his comment on my blog, and visiting his blog I find the text above, corresponding completely with UNICEF’s school gardens project in Algeria (see former posts on my blog).

I agree fully with Hans that “Getting Kids Involved with Gardening” is a great idea and I join him recommending to get youngsters interested in gardening. There are such a lot of nice things to do for kids, in our own garden, but also at school.

Let us first develop some good suggestions to get the adult “decision makers” involved (parents and/or teachers), because without their “devotion to the good cause” it will be difficult to get the kids started. Let us find the right incentives.

In the drylands, like in many African countries, complementary production of food at school can be a good incentive. Maybe the pupils can produce young trees at school (e.g. fruit trees) and take them home for planting at the end of the school year. It would certainly be an excellent contribution to reforestation in the drylands (or afforestation in the humid regions).

Let me invite my readers to come up with some practical suggestions about “Getting Kids Involved with Gardening“. How would you make the kids enthusiastic, at home or at school? Hope to hear from you.


Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

3 thoughts on ““Getting Kids Involved With Gardening” by Great Big Plants”

  1. I couldn’t agree more. Start early before children go to school. We do nothing special – though I believes it’s important that children acquire language of gardening. Wonderful conversations happen with our 23-month old grandson who eats the peas or cherry tomatoes as he picks them but won’t eat them if they’re cooked at dinner-time. We and his father talk about anything we see while we walkabout or work in the garden – so a conversation in effect, becomes a story about a bumblebee or a white butterfly or a wriggly worm. He can say some colours and names of some plants and garden tools during the daily garden activities – he uses a real trowel and watering can – which is particularly good for watering Daddy. The garden learning experiences are authentic and must be fun. I have observed he mimics our actions so it is important the adults work safely in front of children. Other activities he likes are smelling, tasting and listening. I’ll crush a few leaves in my hand and we’ll smell and taste herbs and vegetables. We sniff the flowers. We listen to the breeze rustle the leaves or to the buzz of the bees. We take photos of him in the garden and he loves seeing himself on the computer in the downloaded photos which I caption and read like a story – he fills in the gaps. He features from time to time when I write about my garden.

  2. Without getting our children involved in gardening, this wonderful activity will probably decrease in importance in the coming years because the “magic of the garden” will have lost its appeal on our youth. Why? If our children are not taught about gardening and about actively getting involved in gardening, they will simply turn to less physical, less healthy, more “fun” activities such as driving around with their friends, listening to music on their ipods, talking for hours at a time to their friends on their cell phones, playing with their online games, or simply hanging out and partying with their friends. In a word, if we do not teach our youngsters about gardening, many, if not most of them will avoid healthy, outdoor physical activity (such as gardening) just like they would avoid the plague. If the “older” generation does not accept this “teaching” responsibility, you can bet the farm that the younger generation won’t either.

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