Children are fascinated watching things grow! Getting children involved in the garden provides great opportunities for them to learn about nature, growing plants, and different types of vegetables and flowers. And it’s a great way to incorporate outdoor activities! Here are some ideas to do with the children:
- Use magnifying glasses. Offer them to children to use for looking closely at blooming plants. What do they see?
- Water plants. Use smaller watering cans or a hose with low-pressure water for children to take turns watering plants and talk about the things plants need to grow.
- Walk through a flower garden. Take a stroll through a flower garden in your area. Point out the different shapes and colors you see. Have children feel the petals and smell the different flowers.
- Plan a field trip. Visit a local farm, nursery, or greenhouse. Ask workers to demonstrate how they care for plants, share samples of seeds, and explain some of the things that plants need to be healthy.
- Explore soil. Invite children to observe, touch, and smell soil. Let children play freely using containers, scoops, and toys. Explain that soil is where plants get their water and nutrients from. Pour water over the soil while the children mix it with their hands. What happens?
- Plant seeds. Include a variety of plants such as peas, pumpkins, sunflowers, carrots, etc. Children can help you drop seeds in rows and place soil over the seeds. Explain to them that they will have more jobs to help in the garden once the seedlings emerge.
- Look for bugs. Children love bugs! Gather children near plants, flowers, or trees. Can they spot any bugs? Encourage children to observe without disturbing the critters. Explain that some bugs, such as ladybugs, spiders, and dragonflies are very helpful in the garden because they eat pesky insects that are known to destroy plant leaves and flowers.
- Show-and-tell gardening tools. Show children various gardening tools including a trowel, shears, rototiller, wheelbarrow, etc. Demonstrate how to use them and explain how they are used to make gardening easier. Supervise closely as many of these tools are sharp.