Children love dirt. And they love nature. This is why there is no better way to teach them about biology, agriculture and life in general, than planting with them. If you have a small garden, start by assigning a small patch to them. This will be their personal gardening kingdom and adults are allowed only to help. Here are top things about teaching kids the fun way!
Kids are known for two things: their cuteness and their small size. By getting them small gardening tools, you multiply the cuteness! Hand tools have the ideal size for kids. They are not heavy and are easy for the kids to control. Start by getting them a hand trowel or a children’s shovel. If they are old enough to follow basic safety rules, you can get them a hand fork as well. A small watering can is another part of gardening equipment that kids love to use. Get them one in a vibrant colour, to add more fun!
Kids get dirty. It is basically their job. This is why it is a good idea to buy them a set of clothes especially for their gardening activities. A waterproof kids smock is a good idea and if it has pockets for them to keep their tools in, even better. A pair of wellies and a big hat are also necessary to protect them from the sun and the water. Do apply sunscreen on them as well. Kids enjoy playing in the garden and they might spend many hours in the sun, so it’s important to keep them protected.
There are many different activities that the kids can enjoy in the garden. Depending on their personality and age, you can find educational games fit for everyone. And do not be surprised when kids invite you to play a game they have invented by themselves! Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Collect plant specimens
Allow the kids to cut a few leaves and flowers from your own parts of the garden and stick them to a scrapbook. Explain to them what each part of the plant is doing, the name of the plants, when is the best time of the year to sow them and so on. Show them how they can press flowers the easy way using heavy books.
Collect creepy crawlies
Earthworms, beetles, ladybugs, butterflies are all part of your garden’s ecosystem. Using jars, help your kids collect these insects and other little critters. Close the jars with cheesecloth or other breathable fabric. Keep the insects for as long as you need to observe them and then free them back in the garden. Encourage your kids to draw them and ask questions about them.
Beans, lentils and wheat all grow fast with minimal care. Your kids will get excited and will feel encouraged to try and plant crops that need more patience to grow. You can also talk with your kids about the nutritional value of the crops you are planting. The little ones are more likely to eat vegetables they have observed growing in their own garden patch!
Decorate the garden patch
Encourage them to paint rocks and help them spray-paint twigs in different colours, in order to create a more fun-looking corner in the garden. Not only will your kids love you for spending time with them in the great outdoors, you will also have fun and maybe even learn a thing or two about nature yourself!