Tips For Gardening With Children
Research has shown that children who do not show much interest in studies ironically see gardening as fun. Following are the tips to make gardening safe, educational and enjoyable exercise for children.
Educate the child while gardening
Beginners should start gardening only through observing. They should be made to observe all sorts of gardening activities including watering, digging, cleaning etc. It is important to teach the children about the different types of plants, herbs etc that grow in the garden. Children learn fast by seeing and practicing.
Hence they should first be made to observe the correct method of gardening and then allowed to do it on their own. Develop a habit in them to learn the names of the plants label them and watch them grow. If required make them aware of the use of pesticides and insecticides to kill the insects and other harmful germs.
Keep them involved by telling them facts about the plants and answering their queries. In this way, they will remain involved in gardening and would start liking the activity. Children should be asked to take photographs of various plants at different stages. By doing so, they will be amazed to see the growth of a full-fledged plant from a single seed.
Well being and safety is very important Ask children to wear some old clothes while gardening. Children enjoy playing in the mud and water which is found easily in the garden. Due to this, they spoil their clothes and make them dirty. Hence they should always be asked to wear clothes which are old. Cover their body properly with clothes and advise them to stay away from thorns and small insects.
Proper covering and protection is required for the children who are involved in gardening as the sharp thorns, edges etc may cut or hurt their tender skin. Examine them carefully so that they do not end up hurting themselves. Proper use of sunscreen and other protective lotions is advisable to protect their skin from the heat of the sun.
For safety point of view, get the soil properly examined as the children are more susceptible to poisoning. If tested positively, proper use of pesticides and germ repellants should be used for the safety of children. After the children return from the gardening activity, they should be asked to properly wash their body parts especially the eyes, hands and feet. By doing so, they can get rid of any sort of dirt, germs, bacteria etc that may have settled on their body.
Watering the plants: Plants should be carefully examined while gardening. Children should be advised the importance of watering all the plants daily. Watering the plants is extremely essential for proper growth of the plants. They should not skip the weak and small plants from watering. By doing so, the plants may shrivel, wither and die after few days.
They should be taught the right way of watering these plants. One thing in this regard is to get them a small water spray gun, rather than using a bucket full of water, so that they can easily water all the plants. It is a good practice to get them their own set of gardening tools, instruments, watering cans etc so that they can learn to use them in a better and right way.
Simple trowels and hand forks can be of great help for gardening with children. Here it should be kept in mind that the tools provided to them should not be very sharp edged and pointed as they may hurt the children. They should be taught the correct and safe uses of these hand tools.
Make gardening fun for the child: There is no doubt that children work well in groups so ask them to perform simple small exercises of gardening along with their friends. Assign them the task in accordance with their capacity and reward the winner. This will keep them motivated in performing the gardening activity and at the same time, they will see it as a part of their daily routine.
Try grouping younger and older kids together so as to provide younger kids a helping hand from the older kids and at the same time develop some sense of responsibilities for the older kids as well. Prepare a proper daily schedule for children so that they can optimally utilize their time in gardening. Help them enjoy the gardening as much as possible.
Allot them a small portion of the garden initially and make them feel responsible for every plant therein. To add extra fun to it, ask young children to label the plants and observe the growth of each plant over a period of time. Be sure to start with them on a small scale so that they can handle the plants according to their capacity. Being over-ambitious with them will reduce their interest in gardening and they will take it as a burden. Plan this activity in such a way that the child enjoys it and have fun while doing it.
It can well be appreciated that gardening does not always end in garden itself. Some of the activities related to gardening can also be performed in the house. Parents should mentally prepare the children for the gardening activities by asking them questions and sharing with them certain facts related to gardening.
Keep the children involved in the gardening activities by helping them maintain a scrapbook or a diary of the various activities performed by them. They can draw small pictures of the plants using their imagination and write what they like best about the gardening. This will not only keep their interest alive but also provide them enough knowledge and learning.
Gardening not only is a wonderful exercise for children but it also provides a sense of responsibility to them. If done in a proper manner, children can learn a lot about gardening besides developing it as a favorite past time exercise.
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