Scary Things In The Garden

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Parent’s Guide to Children’s Gardening:

With all the distractions available to your child today to entice him or her to stay in the house, encouraging them to go outside and enjoy nature can be harder than ever.  There are so many interesting and exciting things to learn and do in the garden that teaching your child to garden can become a real asset to their development.  Below are some suggestions to help you along.

If you are allowing your child their “own” vegetable gardening site, give them one that will help them achieve success.  Vegetables require at least 6 hours of sunlight a day.  I have personally grown vegetables in 3 to 4 hours a day but this required extra work on my part that wouldn’t be fair to strap a child with.  Some flowers can grow in less sunlight, some of which require very little.  If you have a shady spot for flowers and perennials make sure you steer them towards plants that enjoy all that shade.

Give advice and directions but let your child feel "ownership" of the garden by encouraging them to have an active part.  Possibly you could present the idea as you are their "helper".  Stay excited and they will keep their interest longer.

We will be happy to answer their questions at our Garden Question Site.

Help them pick plants that are easy to grow.  Some plants would discourage even the most avid gardener.

Have a source of water handy.  Lugging water out to a garden will become a burden that will cause some to give up.

Even though they might not normally be very adventurous in their eating habits, children can be enticed to eat vegetables and fruit that they have grown themselves.

Children’s ability to learn and name basic plant parts- flowers, leaves, stems, roots, etc- will grow as they near 4yrs. to 6yrs. old.  Use this as an opportunity for a “science” lesson.  As they get older the information they can absorb will increase and be a great opportunity as a supplement to their formal learning.

Follow basic safety guidelines.  Don’t allow them to use herbicides and pesticides.  Give them safe tools to work with.

One way toddlers investigate their world is through their mouths.  It is important to keep an eye them and become aware if there are plants in your yard that are toxic.  There are also some plants that you need to caution them not to touch, e.g. stinging nettles, poison ivy etc.

Enjoy yourselves and use this as a special time together and for learning about nature.

Happy Gardening


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Last modified: December 25, 2003
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