Most kids have a dim view of gardening. Gardening to them just means more vegetables they have to eat and weeds they have to pull. Not an interesting prospect for summer vacation from a kid’s point of view. We can take the cue from Michelle Obama’s lead and get kids interested in gardening by planting some fresh ideas in their minds about gardening with these tips.
Start some or all of your garden plants from seeds. Allow the kids to help you choose the seeds and help plant them. As they watch the tiny garden seeds sprout and emerge from the soil, the kids will be amazed at the transformation from seed to plant.
Choose garden seeds and plants that will capture the interest of kids, like sunflowers. Kids are fascinated by how quickly a sunflower grows and quickly becomes taller than them. Keep a measuring tape handy so the kids can measure the growth of the sunflowers every few days and record it in a gardening journal. Sunflowers will also get kids interested in feeding the birds when the sunflower seeds are harvested.
Nasturtiums are another kid interesting flower to grow in the garden. Nasturtiums are pretty and edible. Nasturtiums also attract hummingbirds, deter garden pests and add nitrogen to the garden soil. A good garden choice for you and the kids.
Pole beans are a fast growing, kid interesting vegetable. Pole beans are climbers, so use something out of the ordinary for the pole beans to climb on, like an old step ladder, to keep the kids interested in watching and measuring the pole beans growing process. Pole beans can be picked and eaten raw right off the vine. (If you don’t use chemicals on them)
Growing potatoes in the garden will capture the kid’s interest at harvest time. It’s like digging in the garden soil for underground buried treasure to the kids.
If your kids have a favorite food that includes garden vegetables, give them their own little garden spot or garden containers to grow those vegetables in, and at harvest time, make that favorite food with your kids. If your kids like pasta dishes, let them grow the tomatoes, oregano and basil for that dish. It will keep the kids interested in gardening when they watch the vegetables go from seeds in the store to finished product on the table.
Michelle Obama got grade school kids interested in gardening by including them in the White House ground breaking for her garden. Several universities offer a Junior Master Gardener program for grade school kids. Other groups offer gardening camps and workshops for grade school kids to teach kids gardening skills and make gardening interesting to them on their level.