Spring time is a favourite time of year for some people. The weather is warming up and the snow is melting. The days are getting longer (finally!!) and plants and trees are starting to grow and bloom. This is a perfect time of year to share with your children. Gardening can stimulate the five senses: texture, smell, colour, sound, and taste. It can be very relaxing and help decrease stress. It can be a place for children that can engage curiosity about our world.
Here are a few tips from Canadian Gardening to help nurture the gardener in kids:
1) Engage kids by temperament – Some kids love flowers, others prefer to look at worms, toads, bugs, and butterflies. Others enjoy growing fruit or veggies or helping to edge a bed.
2) Tailor to age – for the youngest gardeners, focus on mucking around with soil and water. Also, show them bugs, worms, roots, sprouted seeds and how drainage works.
3) Give them colourful and age appropriate tools.
4) Relax your standards – crooked rows and a few weeds are okay!
5) Teach children the roles that insects play in the garden – they pollinate flowers and become food for birds and other animals. Even pests can be interesting to learn from!
6) Don’t make gardening a boring chore – When it is time to weed, join in and make it a game. Don’t insist on completing tasks when it is hot and uncomfortable. Stay hydrated, just like the plants! Keep “work” sessions short and remember that watering is always more fun than weeding!