So, we’ve been outside a lot lately, given that the weather here in Texas is changing from Sum-Win to Win-Sum (because Fall and Spring just don’t exist here like in the other states–heh). One of the things we’ve been doing A LOT of is working in our garden. And, by doing this with my toddlers, I’ve figured-out 5 Easy Ways to Get Toddlers Excited about Gardening. I thought you might appreciate if I shared, so you can get your toddler excited–if you’re so inclined. Heh.
5 Easy Ways to Get Toddlers Excited about Gardening
- Let them play. This is my #1 recommendation. I mean, kids all the way up until age 8 really only learn through play. Its in their actions and in their aptitudes. They learn from playing, pretending, copying, and enjoying. Let them do that and you’ve already started down the right path. Even if that path is going to make a mud-pit of your garden on day one…and all your seeds are being piled in one corner…and your toddler is covered in potting mix. Heh.
- Use their “tools”. Like by building them their own garden or sectioning off an area of your garden–or a shared garden with their siblings or classmates. And their gloves. And shovel. Even if it’s plastic. I kid you not (pun intended), they will enjoy it more if it’s all theirs–ownership.
- Use big “seeds” to show results. I think the easiest way to get kiddos to understand what the goal is (and how to make this easy for mom, dad, teacher, whoever is doing the planting with the toddler) is to use items the kiddos can handle. And seeds are tiny–and hard to handle. Miracle-Gro Gro-ables is, for me, a better alternative for a few reasons. One, the kids can pick them up and play with them and not loose all of them. Two, the kids can see them “in action”. Because you simply push the Gro-ables pod into the loose potting mix, then water them, and then watch THAT seed pod grow a plant (which, by the way, there are a TON of plants to choose from like eggplant, zucchini, basil, tomato…whatever). And, because each Gro-able is guaranteed to grow, the kids really get to see what’s happening–and the results.
- Give them control. Its good to set some rules (for example: planting the Gro-ables in the sandbox is kind of a no-no), but, if you have a garden into which they can plant…just let them choose where within the garden to plant things. It’s going to be ok if the basil and parsley aren’t in straight lines–and if it’s that big of a deal to you, if you’re using the Gro-ables, you can go back and fix it later, after they go down for a nap.
- Go at their pace. So what if it takes you 2 hours to plant 10 plants?! Who cares, honestly. You’re getting the kiddo outside and getting them used to the idea of gardening–not trying to turn them into full-time farmers in a day. So, relax.
Ok, so what do you think? Would you add anything to these 5 Easy Ways to Get Toddlers Excited about Gardening? Since this is our first year gardening with a toddler (much less two of them, eep!), I’m open to ideas. Just let me know by dropping me a line in the comments below!
And don’t forget to check out the Gro-ables Project. These seed pods are genius. Literally just drop ’em in the ground, water them everyday, and in a couple of weeks there’s plants–and little more time and there’s some flowers…with fruit not far behind. I love them and we’ve been planting them all over our little garden!