Include Kids in Gardening: 10 Tips

One of the best things you can grow in your yard is a gardener. Here's how.

As parents, grandparents, relatives, and friends of young children know, one of the best things you can grow in your yard is a gardener. To help cultivate the budding gardeners in your life, consider these 10 tips from the National Wildlife Federation:

  1. Set aside a spot in your yard for a children's garden--no wider than a yardstick--that can be easily managed. Other good options include window boxes or containers.
  2. Sow fast-germinating seeds so kids can quickly see the results of their labor.
  3. Choose plants that will excite the senses, such as eye-catching sunflowers, fragrant herbs, and fuzzy ornamental grasses.
  4. Woo wildlife, which will wow your kids, by planting native perennials and providing food and shelter for animals.
  5. Provide kid-sized tools and teach young gardeners how to use them safely. Don't overlook simple options such as spoons and measuring cups.
  6. To keep kids safe, don't use toxic chemical fertilizers, weed killers, or pesticides. Use natural alternatives instead.
  7. Getting dirty is half the fun, but make sure children wash up after working in the soil, as it can contain chemicals and harmful bacteria.
  8. Take advantage of teaching moments. If you uncover a pill bug on the ground, for instance, explain that its roly-poly posture is a means of defense. If your children pose questions you can't answer, do research together at the library or on the Internet.
  9. Encourage children to share their garden with friends and family. Giving tours reinforces their ownership and helps instill a sense of pride.
  10. Have kids draft notes in a journal, draw a picture, or take photographs of their garden.

How have you managed to include children in your gardening?