Gardening with Kids

Dig in (literally)! Gardening is the perfect opportunity to connect with your kids and nature, and experience some teachable fun.

You don’t need to be a master gardener or even have a particularly green thumb, just start with some basics: a Garden Tool Set, some Gloves and Seeds, and a book or two about gardening . Throw in some extras like a Wheelbarrow and bigger Tools and you may actually find that kids are a huge help in your garden.

We are very lucky to have a Gardening Program (called Growing Great Gardeners) at our public elementary school. Run completely by parent volunteers, we visit the First Grade classrooms once a month to teach the basic principles of growing plants. After a brief discussion, the kids go outside and dig in the dirt.

Marked with a hand-painted vegetable-shaped sign (ours is an eggplant), each First Grade class has their own raised garden bed. Cover crops (and some weeds) fill it all winter but now we’re cleaning up and preparing the soil for vegetable and flower seeds.

Lettuce seeds are great to start with because they sprout within 7 to 10 days and aren’t terribly picky about location (sun or part shade is fine). Radish seeds germinate even more quickly (as soon as 3 days) if you have super eager gardeners who might check every day.

As much hands-on participation from the kids as possible is the goal in our school program and that’s a great approach at home as well. Even if it’s not perfect (and come on, what First-Grader is going to space seeds properly), letting them go ahead and do everything will yield the best results in gaining children’s interest. You can always go back later and thin out crowded seedlings.

Start letting them “help” in the garden as early as age 3 (when you’re fairly confident that rocks won’t be popped into their mouth) to delight all of their senses. From the wonderful experience of being beside you in the garden, listening to birds chirp, smelling the scent of herbs and freshly turned dirt, feeling the texture of soil and sand or gently touching an earthworm, it’s all part of an education to grow up appreciating the beauty and bounty of the earth.



What a lovely program. I wish you offered this to adults 😉


Gladly! You just need to move closer and call me your Garden Docent any time. 🙂

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