Encourage your child or grandchild to assist you in the garden. Gardening is not only a rewarding task, but it can also alter a child’s attitude towards the environment and promote learning. Working in a garden can give a child great satisfaction as they watch the fruits of their labor in the thriving flowers, fruits or vegetables. Here are some simple tasks that your little garden helper can complete.
1. Start Seeds Indoors
If the weather isn’t right just yet for outdoor gardening, start your seeds indoors to help ensure that you have a strong harvest when it’s time to transplant them. Small children can help by placing seeds into small containers. Children can use small trowels or their fingers to create holes in the soil in which to drop the seeds.
2. Clean Up Garden
At the start of spring, solicit help from your little one to prepare the garden for planting. Have the child collect all dead annual plants and move them to the compost bin. Provide your child with a rake to gather dried leaves and debris from the flower beds. Early spring is also the time to take action against weeds. Explain to your child which growths are weeds and show him or her how to pull the growths and their roots.
3. Transplant Plants
Once the time comes to transplant your indoor seedlings, bring the containers outdoors to begin the process. Children can use trowels and rulers to properly measure and dig holes for the young plants. Holes should be twice as wide as the root ball. Transfer each seedling into a hole and have your little one firm the soil around the roots.
4. Water Regularly
Many children find watering plants to be a fun job that takes minimal effort. Plants should be watered frequently to maintain hydration, especially if the weather is hot or dry. Children can use a small watering can or a hose with a watering wand or garden attachment to water plants. Teach your child to move the watering can or hose back and forth across the garden to avoid puddles and mudslides.
5. Harvest Produce
When the fruits and veggies are ready for harvest, children can help remove and bring in the crops. Provide your child with kid-size scissors and have him or her cut produce that is relatively soft, such as lettuce, greens, berries, and veggies with thin stems. Collect the produce in a large bowl or bucket and place it the sink. Children can then rinse the produce under cool running water.
6. Miscellaneous Tasks
There are numerous other small tasks that children can do in the garden without much assistance from parents or grandparents. Encourage your child to help care for the living creatures in the environment by providing them food and water. Kids can help fill bird baths with fresh water from the hose, and fill bird feeders with store-bought or homemade bird seed.