Teaching Kids To Grow

When my son was asked at school to write about spring he sent home an entire page of stories… about going to the beach! Clearly he had no idea what happens in spring. Granted, we have a very short spring season here in Calgary. It seems to snow all the way up until summer, so I can’t really blame him. But it kind of bugged me that a whole aspect of growth, change, and renewal was missing for him.

Gardening with kids seems like a bit of a crazy idea, but the true gardeners will be spending a lot of time outside. The easiest way to keep everyone entertained is to get them involved. In order to teach my kids about this forgotten season, as well as all the life lessons we get from gardening, I gave each of my kids a plant in our garden. As soon as I saw buds coming up I assigned it to someone. That kid is in charge of watering his plant and can’t touch the other plants.

Each day (or two or three) we check on the plant and see how it’s growing. We measure approximately how tall it is (as tall as my fingers! Three hands tall!) and marvel at the changes its made. They know the name of their plants, and love to see “my elephants ear” or “my peonies”. They aren’t very involved yet in the actual work involved, but they appreciate the efforts made.

Tips for teaching your kids to garden:

  • If starting from seed, choose plants that grow quickly.  Interest fades fast when no progress can be seen.
  • Give them responsibility and space – whether its their own plant, their own section, flower pot, whatever.  Just as long as they know its their space in the dirt.
  • Give them tools – lets be honest, the accessories are always the best part of any job.  Hit up a local dollar store and let them get a shovel, watering can, or garden decorations.  As long as its fun, they will be happy out there.  And lets face it, if they are out there gardening, then you can be too!

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