Most kids love to dig in the dirt and play with water. Why not foster this natural curiosity to create a beautiful – and potentially edible - children’s garden. Creating a children’s garden is a great way for kids to build self-confidence, feel a sense of pride in their accomplishments, and practice patience, while enhancing your home’s value and curb appeal at the same time. Here are a few ways you can get your kids involved:
Choose a Plot or a Pot
Stake out an area of your garden for your child and encourage a sense of ownership. A couple of large pots or an old sandbox on a balcony or patio can create the same impact. Provide your child with tools of the trade. A plastic garden spade, a small watering can, gardening gloves, and plant markers are a must.
Plan for Plantin’
Take your child to the nursery garden to choose seeds. Fast-growing plants will hold their interest: zinnias and “mammoth” sunflowers add dramatic colours and grow to over 3 metres in height. Black-eyed Susans are a great flower choice as they are relatively self-sufficient and have bright yellow flowers that attract butterflies, bees, and birds, which will surely indulge your little gardener’s curiosity. Plant vegetables such as cucumbers, radishes, potatoes, carrots, spinach, and zucchini, which all sprout fairly quickly, are relatively easy to grow, and add greenery to your garden. Bright red cherry tomatoes are a particularly good option for planting in pots on a balcony or patio. Growing vegetables together should encourage the little ones to eat healthy too.
When the seeds are planted and marked it’s time to water and indulge your child’s interest in worms, bugs and the nature of things. A terrific way of keeping plants insect-free is to attract frogs or toads to the garden. Providing a water source is a good start. If you don’t have a garden pond, a shallow bowl with a large stone or log is a good alternative.
Add a Child’s Touch
A boulder rock with the child’s name marked on it is a great way to make the small space feel special. A tiny well-placed gnome or fairy that peeks behind flowers and vegetables adds a sense of enchantment. When interest wanes, construct a funny scarecrow or set out a birdbath and enjoy the spectacle and sound of our feathered friends.
Relax & Enjoy
Gardening is a great way to convert a picky little eater. When it’s time to harvest your veggies from the kiddie garden, throw a blanket on the grass and enjoy a tasty picnic lunch. Relax with your “little gardener” and enjoy. There’s nothing quite like literally consuming the fruits (or, in this case, vegetables) of your labour!