I will be sharing some tips on how to teach children to love gardening by sowing your own seeds and through play.
Both my husband’s and my favorite part of growing up each year was planting season and springtime. My husband grew up in eastern Turkey to a farming family. They raised cows and goats and also grew their own food. Some of his responsibilities included sowing the seeds, plowing, preparing the fields, and then harvesting the crops so that they could sell them at a local market.
I grew up in the other part of the world in northern Kentucky in the United States. Growing up, I had a worm farm and loved making sandwiches from plant materials. I actually found pleasure in pulling weeds to make a space for flowers or vegetables. My parents always had a small garden with cherry tomatoes and herbs. One year I was in charge of a bunch of dahlias.
Fast forward years later. We are now living in France and raising three children of our own. This year we have decided to make use of our balcony and create a garden space. My husband told me that we probably won’t be able to grow everything we want because of the soil/dirt quality and the unpredictable weather. One year it literally rained here every single day until fall. Last year it was so blistering hot that just watering the plants burnt them to a crisp.
How to Instill a Love for Gardening by Sowing Seeds
1. Let the kids pick out which vegetable, herb or fruit they would like to try to grow or they an reuse vegetable scraps from the kitchen and try to regrow it.
This year we brought grow your own boxes from a local dollar store. I tried to get vegetables and herbs that are related to our multicultural background like purple basil, lavender, peppers, sunflowers, poppies, chives, radishes, and salad.
We are trying to regrow salad here.
2. Let them fill out their own label and collect rocks from outside to put on the bottoms of pots.
3. Pick out the containers that you are going to use – reuse milk and soda bottles, egg cartons.
4. Help them with planting the seeds and getting their hands dirty while you talk about the soil and read the instructions. Invite them to draw a picture and form a hypothesis on how the plants may grow.
5. Show them how to spray on water until the plant has sprouted and then how to water it later with a watering can.
6. Remind them to check their seedlings daily and take note of the progress – but also remind them to be patient if they don’t see anything yet.
7. Watch them get excited after they see their plants growt and invite them to draw a picture.
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Other Ways to Instill a Love of Gardening in Children
1. Read books about gardening such as: The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle, Secrets of a Vegetable Garden by Carron Brown & Giordono Poloni, Gardening for Beginners by Usbourne, The Usbourne Book of Growing Food, and We are the Gardeners by Joanna Gaines.
3. Use flashcards and pre-reading cards and worksheets about the life cycle of a plant and talk about the vocabulary
4. Play learning games and puzzles about gardening.
5. Go to a pick your own farm where they can pick vegetables and fruits directly from the field.