Gardening with kids can be a fun pastime and a great way for parents and children to get active outdoors – whether it be playing in the garden, starting a veggie patch, learning about birds and insects, or collecting bits and pieces for making crafts. There are many fun activities and projects you can try when it comes to gardening with kids.
To plot or to pot?
Even adults get excited about harvesting something they’ve been spending time growing out in the garden, so think about how excited your kids will be if they had the chance to grow something of their own. If you have the space, start with a small plot and choose a few varieties for different sections. Potting works just as well and is a good flexible option if some varieties require more sunlight than the others.
Growing edible varieties is especially fun as kids start to understand more about where fruits and veggies come from and see the whole process in action. As a tip when gardening with kids – for the first few projects, go with varieties that are easy to grow with a fast turnover, so your kids won’t lose interest in the early days.
Take your kids with you to the nursery and pick out something they usually like to eat and involve them in the process – from preparing the soil, to sowing the seeds and eventually harvesting the produce. Most importantly, give them a hands-on experience in taking care of the plants and teach them the importance of nurturing another living thing – a great way to introduce the concept of responsibility and the life cycles of living things.
See the outdoor games section under kids’ activities for more ideas on how your kids can learn and play out in the garden.
Kids can get up to all sorts of things when exploring the garden so adults should always be close by, especially to watch over the younger ones. Be sure to teach your children good practices like washing their hands well after playing in the garden and what they should watch out for the garden. And always remember to be sun smart, put on sunscreen and teach your children to wear a hat when out in the sun.
Who said gardening must be done outdoors?
Gardening with kids doesn’t have to be limited to the garden – you can bring the outdoors inside! Start by showing your children how to plant seeds into pots – be sure to choose something that’s suitable to grow indoors. Teach your kids how to care for their new potted plants and soon they will be rewarded with small sprouts emerging. To sow seeds for the first time and watch it sprout and grow into a plant is a fascinating experience for children. Find out what plants are suitable for gardening with kids from our garden lessons for kids. Or as a fun project, try growing a grass head.
Besides showing your children how to grow plants and flowers, gardening with kids can involve making fun objects from things they find the garden. Check out our gardening activities for kids for fun and simple ideas for growing plants and making crafts.
Can I garden during my pregnancy?
Gardening at home is often a therapeutic way to spend time outdoors. For those who are pregnant, be mindful of what can potentially be harmful to you and your baby and take the necessary precautions.
When out gardening, there is a possibility that you may come into contact with a parasite in the soil called toxoplasmosis. If an infection occurred during pregnancy, the results can be fatal for your baby. Take extra precaution by wearing rubber lined gloves, wash your hands thoroughly after you’ve finished gardening (be sure to not touch your eyes, face or mouth prior to washing your hands) and prepare food from the garden suitably before consuming.
It is important to avoid any sort of heavy lifting during pregnancy and always protect yourself from the sun and stay hydrated throughout the day. Follow safety instructions when it comes to using chemicals in the garden, such as pesticides. To minimise your exposure to these chemicals, take this opportunity to explore safer methods of pest control or try organic gardening – a great investment, especially when you’ll have a little one playing in the garden in the not-too-distant future.
For more information see Parenting.