August 5, 2010

7 Top Tips for Gardening With Toddlers

If you love gardening, and would like to include your child in your hobby, you're more than likely to find an eager and enthusiastic teammate! Children have an inherent love and awe of nature and the outdoors, and gardening affords them the miraculous opportunity of watching amazing fruits, vegetables and flowers sprout from tiny seeds, right before their very eyes. I was overjoyed to learn that my two and a half year-old daughter would happily spend hours on end tending to our garden. Yes, there's an unlikely green gardening tool that captivates her attention and keeps our flowers blooming.

1. Hand a young child a spray bottle filled with water, and watch them excitedly go to work spraying everything green in sight. You can thoroughly wash and re-use any household spray bottle and turn it into your toddler's most treasured gardening tool. (This is my daughter's favorite outdoor toy!) Using a spray bottle also alleviates a little one's unintentional drowning of plants and flowers with hoses and watering cans, and it also helps conserve water.

2. Decorate potted plants with handcrafted pet rocks that your child brings to life with paint, felt and googly eyes!

3. Have your children help you feed your plants with breakfast scraps. Let them scatter eggshells and coffee grounds into the soil to help make plants grow.

4. Spend an afternoon decoupaging terracotta flower pots with your kids. The one-of-a-kind flower pots will add instant flair and originality to your garden.

5. Equip your budding gardener with a cute and compact matchstick garden, and let them grow their choice of herbs, flowers or mixed greens.

6. Short on outdoor space? Your child can still reap what she sows inside the house with Green Toys' Indoor Gardening Kit. The kit includes everything you need to help your child's love of gardening blossom: a peapod shaped planter tray and three planting pots, a trowel, soil, and three packs of organic seeds (Teddy Bear Sunflower, Basil, Zinnia).

7. Make a DIY watering can or plant holder out of an empty plastic milk jug. Simply cut the top off of the carton to make it into a watering can. Do the same to make it a plant holder, but poke holes in the bottom for drainage.

I originally authored this post for EcoSalon.

Refer to this helpful Gardening At Every Age guide for more insight into your child's skill and understanding level when it comes to tending the garden.

Images: Beth Shea, Petite Planet, Green Toys

1 comment:

Lisa said...

What a great garden helper you have, so cheerful. I love your ideas of involving kids in the joys of gardening. When my children were small and my garden was new, I'd let them pick out any seeds they wanted. Now that they, and their plants are older, they get a special excitement of showing off their plants to their friends who then usually want to help out somehow.