Nothing says summer like fresh fruits and vegetables! So, why not start a family garden? A healthy, outdoor activity, gardening allows children to see something through from beginning to end, while also learning responsibility, cooperation and patience. And at harvest, their efforts are rewarded with a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.
Best of all, children of all ages can participate. Little ones can help prepare the soil. (Who doesn’t like to dig?) Older children can help choose the seeds and plants and plan where each will go. Everyone can water and weed. Of course, as with any family activity, especially when it comes to little ones, do so safely. Always supervise garden activities, be aware of choking hazards, such as seeds, and put away garden tools when not in use.
Here are a few more pointers to make your family’s gardening experience even more enjoyable.
- Be a good role model. Don’t overthink the process, just get in the dirt!
- Provide your children with tools designed for little hands.
- Plant things that everyone will eat, but also things that are easy to grow, along with some fun ones, such as, sunflowers and pumpkins.
- Show how living things benefit from each other by planting flowers that attract pollinators. Or, build a pollinator garden!
- Learn about other gardens. Walk around your neighborhood to see what others are planting. Plan and take field trips to botanical gardens, such as local favorites, Shelter Gardens and the University of Missouri Jefferson Farm and Garden.
- Check on and care for your garden as part of your family’s daily routine.
- Take advantage of the great outdoors with some summertime family fun activities and games! Paint with nature’s brushes, have a garden scavenger hunt or create frozen summer time capsules.
For additional information on garden planning, planting, harvesting and everything in between, check out this awesome list of DBRL children’s books!
“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” –Cicero