Gardening can provide a wealth of learning opportunities for children. Not only does gardening open their eyes to thinks like soil nutrients, the different characteristics of different plants, the effects of the weather on the environment and how food is grown, it also helps them gain a sense of responsibility. Caring for their own plants is a good way to teach children to take responsibility for their belongings and to learn about what is required to take care of another living thing – making plants a great stepping stone on the way to having their own pets.
Of course, it is easy to see how growing plants and flowers can be a beneficial learning experience for children, but that does not mean that all plants and flowers are appropriate for children to grow. Some plants and flowers may be to difficult for little ones to tend, while other plants and flowers be able to be downright dangerous. For your children to get the most out of the experience of gardening, carefully selecting the right plants and flowers is the key.
When choosing plants and flowers for gardening with kids, there are a few factors you need to consider. First and foremost, consider safety. Plants and flowers can often be poisonous, and depending on the age of your child, this factor can be a serious issue. If your little one is still of the age in which they want to put everything in their mouth, shy away from poisonous plants. Next, consider the amount of work that goes into caring for the plant or flower. Choose one that requires an age appropriate amount of work for your child. You want to encourage their success in the garden, so err on the side of caution and don’t give them more than they can handle. In addition to these concerns, you of course also have to take into account all of the regular gardening considerations, like choosing plants and flowers that are appropriate for your area and the size and placement of your garden.
One great way to go with kids in the garden is choosing food plants. Tomato plants, green beans, squash, watermelon, strawberries – all of these food plants are relatively easy to grow, and your child will get a kick out of seeing the food go from seed to something they can eat. You might also find that your children are much more interested in eating their vegetables, if they’ve grown them.