The imminent arrival of spring – and hopefully better weather – provides the perfect opportunity to get into the garden with children. Words Gretchen Carroll
Gardening with children can be rewarding for the whole family, whether it’s your kids, your grandkids or extended whānau, and you all get to enjoy the fruit of your labour. Being outside in nature has many positives for kids – it promotes healthy growth of their mind, body and spirit, stimulates all their senses, and instils a love of the outdoors. They learn where fresh produce comes from, and enjoy eating it straight from the garden, which (hopefully) encourages them to enjoy fruit and veges more. Most children love
getting their hands dirty, and time spent outside means less time in front of screens!
Our garden has always been our 8-year-old son’s ‘happy place’, whether it’s getting muddy, helping with the gardening or creating his own fun, so here are some tips from our experience.
Tamariki usually love being outside, so you probably won’t have any trouble getting them out the back door. To introduce them to the joys of gardening, first get hold of the right-sized gear – check out op shops or garden centres for child-sized gardening gloves and a spade, although small adult trowels work okay for little hands. Perhaps a small watering can and a rake for the autumn leaves later on. If they are using adult-sized tools, think about what is safe for their age.
Now you have the gear, think about what age and stage the particular child is at. Older preschoolers and school-aged kids are capable of, and will enjoy helping with, planting vegetables and flowers, whereas the really young ones might be tempted to eat the potting mix. Perhaps a better job for littlies is watering the plants with a small watering can; save the planting for the older ones. Most ages can help with weeding, although the younger ones will need guidance on what is a weed...
Read the full story in our August issue – on shelves now.
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