Spring is almost here and with many parents homeschooling at the moment, it's a great opportunity to take a 'screen-time' break, get outside and into the garden with a fun and engaging activity.
Why should we encourage children to garden?
Whether it’s a backyard in your Coburg home or a smaller courtyard space within your Fitzroy apartment, getting children to help out in the garden can be an enjoyable, healthy activity that has numerous benefits for their development - they will love getting outside, digging, getting creative and watching their plants grow!
When gardening, children learn responsibility as they learn how to care for life forms other than themselves. By grasping simple concepts about plants needing water, sunlight and nutrients, kids will also gain an understanding into the way the world works. Getting them involved in the garden will teach them valuable lessons and is perhaps one of the few areas in our modern lifestyles that doesn’t yield our desires at the snap of our fingers.
And best of all, having kids getting their hands dirty beside you is a good way for the family to spend time together and to nurture co-operation between one another.
Which plants are best for kids?
If you can; start by giving kids their own little section of garden space (this can be planter box or a few pots to start growing some seedlings).
When thinking about what to let the children grow, the Better Health resource by the Victorian government recommends plants that appeal to the different senses.
For instance, flowers like Daisies and Sunflowers are vibrant and colourful plants that’ll attract children and look striking in any garden.
Plants like Jasmine, Lavender, Mint and Sweet Peas just to name a few have a strong, sweet scent that will engage with kids at a sensory level and make their gardening efforts even more enjoyable.
The most exciting of all may be growing vegetables and fruits (such as strawberries, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and corn) which have two-fold benefits. Firstly, the whole family benefits from being able to eat fresh produce straight from the garden. Secondly, this will get them even more invested in gardening as they literally taste the fruit of their efforts whilst learning about nutrition and where fresh food comes from.
Order some vegetable seeds from a local business like the Little Veggie Patch Co. in Heidelberg or try propagating some yourself.
Growing a garden with kids isn’t just a great learning tool and a fun family activity; it also adds a layer of charm and homeliness into wherever you’re living!