Kids, in whatever generation they are in or used to be in, are always so hard to entertain. They are very active and would always want to be out of their houses. They often want to play with their siblings or other kids in the neighborhood.
There really is nothing wrong with this. It does not only keep our children occupied, it becomes a form of exercise where their bodies become strong while still having fun. But what it also means is having less time spent with our kids. We are losing much needed bonding time, especially when our kids are at an age where our presence and guidance are very crucial.
A lot of what kids consider “chores” can be made into fun activities with them. For instance, you can save a day when you and your kids can bake a cake together. You can also teach them gardening.
Gardening, on the surface, may seem like a boring activity even for adults. But it is actually the best way to spend time with people because it allows for good conversation. Gardening also allows for a set of simple tasks that promote a certain focus or flow, making it a meditative activity. Here are a few suggestions that can help get your kids to enjoy gardening.
Expose them to botanical gardens, farms, and plant nurseries first
Kids are naturally curious. Regardless of whatever activity it is you want to them try out, they will probably do it until they find another activity they can occupy themselves with.
For gardening, you can appeal to their curiosities by showing them a garden with a diverse set of plants. Give them a tour of the botanical gardens, farms, and nurseries you have near you. Show them which ones you can plant in your house, how to take care of each specific plant, and so on.
Allow them to smell, touch, and maybe even taste some of the crops so that they experience gardening with all of their senses. This gives them a taste of how enjoyable it is to have a garden, even without growing one yet.
Plant crops that will grow quickly first
As much as kids are naturally curious, if they think another activity that they think is more interesting than gardening, then they can quickly drop the shovel and go.
To keep them interested, try choosing plants that grow quickly as a starter. You can choose peas, potatoes, beetroots, and radishes because they show signs of life quickly.
We want them to experience how satisfying it is to see something they took care of grow into these vegetables that you have planted.
Give them their own gardening space
It would be best to create a gardening space exclusively for the use of your kids. This is not only to ensure that if something does not go quite as planned in the gardening, none of the other plants will be affected by it. This is also to give kids their own work stations where they can visit every now and then to check. Aside from this, you can create a raised garden bed that is appropriate for their height too. This would allow for them to reach their gardens easily.
If you have observed, whenever kids play with their toys, they always have a place they go where it is a little private and where they can be themselves without anyone watching them. Their imagination runs high during their private play time, and you can bring the same kind of environment that they like in gardening. You can give them their own garden plot, helping them feel ownership over their own crops and their own time.
Also, remember to give them materials that are kid-friendly. For instance, there are garden materials that are made of plastic or silicon. Pick materials where they will not get wounded or are not toxic.
Involve them in the preparation and make it fun
If there is one thing kids love the most, it is making a big mess. This is why baking is usually an activity kids enjoy doing. The same thing is true for gardening.
Other than involving them in the construction of their raised garden bed, in fixing up plumbing systems for the irrigation system and so on, involve them in the messy stuff as well.
Let them experience creating plant compost or fertilizer, hunting for worms, leveling soil, digging the holes and bed stations, and a lot more.
The purpose of this is not to indulge kids’ messy tendencies, but to show them that there is more to gardening than the usual shovel and dirt scenario. Show them that there is a process that needs to be followed, and each step is awesome.
Eat the crops that they have planted
Your kids will definitely feel that they have accomplished something big if they get to benefit from what they are doing. In this case, they will feel so hyped if they get to eat the crops that they have planted.
Once their crops are grown and ready to eat, help them harvest the crops and cook with it. For added bonding time, you can even ask them to cook and prepare their crops with you and serve it for dinner or on special occasions. Tell the whole family that they planted the vegetables. Your kids will surely light up and tell everyone who did it.
Allow them to choose what they want to grow in the garden next
Now that they have gotten a taste of what gardening feels like, they will most likely want to do it again. Make them choose what they want to plant next.
You can suggest mixing it with plants that grow quickly and those that take time.
Gardening can teach your kids a lot of values that they can apply in their lives. It teaches them patience, organization, understanding, and a caring attitude. This also allows them to experience a meditative flow that is important in their formative years when their mental and emotional qualities are starting to form.
More than that, it is the perfect way to get to know your child a little better. With gardening, you get to spend time with them without needing to rush or without other factors that make it difficult for you to bond with them. Go on and try gardening with your kids to harvest all of its benefits.