Gardening Helps Children Learn How to Nurture

Nurturing a plant helps children learn to nurture themselves while teaching responsibility through plant care and building self-esteem through accomplishment.

Many parents find gardening an excellent way to spend quality time with their children, teach lessons such as environmental awareness and the workings of nature, and have good old-fashioned family fun.

Take the opportunity to get your child interested in gardening by letting them help you or another adult tend to existing plantings. Later, gibe them a small spot of their own where they can create a small garden.

A water garden is an alternative project to dirt gardening.

A water garden is an alternative project to dirt gardening.

Start in a Sunny Place

Plants like sun. They need sunshine to grow the best and give you the best vegetables and flowers. This is why picking a nice, sunny garden spot is important. Because sunlight is important, you need to find out how much sun the spot you have picked gets. Teach your child that this is called ‘exposure’.

A spot facing south is best. Give them a small spot in a prime location will allow them to show off their accomplishments.

Small Spots Can Work

Children who have special needs or urban children who have very little yard space to work with can access outdoor gardening. Consider what recycled containers filled with vibrant flowers, edible vegetables, or exotic plants can do for entrances, windows, or a corner of the community.

Even the smallest outdoor nook can sport a thriving crop of vegetables, herbs, and flowers in containers. With some creative thinking and recycled materials from baskets to old shoes, children can plant special theme gardens, entice butterflies and other insect visitors, or create products such as hanging fragrance gardens or July 4th themed baskets to sell or donate.

Children’s Gardening Tools

Children can be taught how to use and care for trowels, spades, rakes, hoes, blunt weeding tools, small wheel barrows, and baskets for weeding and harvesting. Keep in mind if you only have adult sized tools that children do not strain themselves when using them since they are bigger and heavier then child sized tool.

Child-sized tools are available through mail order catalogs or many garden centers. You may want to buy gardening tools at any time for gift giving during the December holiday season or for a birthday or other personal celebration.

Autumn Gardening

Autumn is a good time to plant little gardens that will be ready for more lessons and fun in the spring and summer. Raking leaves into piles can be satisfying for a child.  Afterwards use this opportunity to introduce composting and recycling.

Autumn is the season to plant trees, turf grasses, and spring-blooming flower bulbs such as tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, and crocuses.

Children will have fun with “naturalizing,” bulbs to achieve a natural look. It is easy and fun to do. Just grab a handful of bulbs, toss them out on the target area, and plant them where they fall.

Although a full-scale lawn renovation is probably not a job for children, reseeding small areas can be fun for them. Their active participation in the process may help parents convince them to stay off newly seeded areas giving the new grass a chance to grow.

Springtime Gardening

Spring is the time to involve your children in planning and planting the flower and vegetable garden. March is the time to plant seeds of summer vegetables and annual herbs inside that you want to transplant outside in late May.

It takes six to eight weeks to grow a good transplant, so this can also be an lesson in patience for your child.

Inviting Butterflies

When it comes to inspiring youngsters and sparking curiosity, you cannot beat butterflies.

Creating a butterfly garden can be as simple a project as a few containers of caterpillar-nourishing plants on the windowsill. By nature, these batches of blooms are likely to attract other beneficial insects and even birds, providing prime observation opportunities for children and a haven for many creatures.

Remember that the pure fun of digging in the dirt is the real key to instilling an interest in gardening in children.

Gardening Helps Children Learn How To Nurture© 2009

By Cathleen V. Carr for Natural Medicine Ink 5/29/09

Author Cathleen V. Carr writes to promote lifestyle, products and services related to green, environmental and natural health care and holistic living. She is a fifth generation practitioner of metaphysical arts and sciences, an Ordained Minister, licensed attorney and holds a Masters Degree in Metaphysics and Doctorate in Metaphysical Science in Bio-Energetic Medicine. She is the Editor of Natural Medicine Ink and the Best Natural Health and writes regularly for many blogs and websites.


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