Kids are natural gardeners. They love digging in the dirt, and they often don’t mind pulling weeds or caring for the plants. Instead of limiting the garden to your own child, invite his friends to join a kids’ gardening club. Here are some tips to get you started.
The first thing you need is a location for the garden. If you have a large yard or an existing garden, you’re already set. If not, you might find an area in the community that would allow you to start a community garden. A local park, non-profit organization or church might be willing to give you a little plot of land for the project.
Use the first meeting as a way to evaluate the kids’ interests in gardening and their knowledge of gardening skills. Ask about past gardening experience and what type of gardening projects they want to do. Start a list of possible plants they want to grow in the community garden. Be prepared to steer the group toward plants that are easy to grow in your area.
You can head to the store yourself and get all of the supplies, but the kids have more ownership in the club if they get to pick out the seeds, plants and gardening tools. Ask all of the parents and kids to meet you at the nursery or home improvement store so you can shop together.
It’s tempting to do most of the work yourself and just let the kids drop in seeds or pull a few weeds. But don’t take away the chance for the kids to actually learn how to garden. Let them plan the layout of the plants in the garden. Give advice based on the growing conditions each plant needs.
Hand the gardening tools to the kids and let them do the work. They may need some help, especially with breaking up the soil, but they can tackle a lot of the gardening work.
You can expand the scope of the kids’ gardening club by planning some extra activities for the kids. Instead of just caring for the garden, let the kids plant their own container gardens. Have each child bring a container for the project.
You can also make items for the garden, such as painted rocks to dress up the gardens, or homemade garden row makers. Let the kids decorate gardening gloves that they can use at each club meeting. Or read books related to gardening.
When the vegetables mature, you have another built-in activity: cooking. Use the foods the kids grow to choose a recipe to cook with the kids.