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Getting Kids Back in the Garden: Way to Grow!

By April 21, 2010November 22nd, 2011One Comment
by Julie Moir Messervy

It’s not always easy to get kids out into the garden, but the earlier they become involved, the more likely they are to become stewards of the earth later in life. I’ve partnered with Lands’ End as a spokesperson for their Way to Grow program to help schools create gardening and science programs and get kids outside again.

L: Lands’ End’s Way to Grow program; R: A child helps to plant in Weezie’s Garden, designed by Julie.
Image: Lands’ End; Photo: Trish Wesley Umbrell.

Here are some of my favorite ways to get children outside to enjoy the garden and get their hands dirty. Many of these come from experiences I’ve shared with my own children as they were growing up and learning to connect with the outdoors. Leave a comment and let us know what tips you’ve come up with for your own kids. And check out the Way to Grow program from Lands’ End–your child’s school could win up to $2,500 to start gardening or science program!

Children enjoy the sights and play in Weezie’s Garden. Photos: L: JMMDS; R: Trish Wesley Umbrell.

Get Kids Involved Early
Engage kids in gardening projects right from the start. Bring them outside early and often to talk about what they see. Seek their thoughts on where to locate a garden and what to grow there. The more involved they are, the more likely they will stay interested throughout their lives.

Families take in the sights, including life-size nests and treehouse, at Weezie’s Garden. Photos: Trish Wesley Umbrell.

Flower Field Trips
Gather the kids and a camera and head to local parks, gardens, arboreta and nurseries to discover the variety of plants that grow in your region. Let kids take pictures of their favorite plants and flowers as helpful reminders for when it’s time to pick out plants.

Parallel Play
Do things side by side with your kids. If you have a flower garden, give them their own little flower garden. If you are growing vegetables, give them their own personal veggie patch. Let kids choose all the plants for their garden and help them decide how to arrange them.

A young gardener gets a hand while planting in Weezie’s Garden. Photo: Trish Wesley Umbrell.

Help With Hard Work
Digging out planting beds and turning the soil can be hard work for kids, especially if they are little. Let them play while you handle the “heavy lifting.” Bring kids back to see the results when the task is complete.

Soil Science Experiment
Soil pH is a primary factor for plant growth. As part of the garden planning process, work with the kids to help them take soil samples from several areas around the property. Send the samples to a local community extension service for testing. Then share the results with the kids and carry out the recommended soil improvements

Backyard Adventure
Help kids create the outlines of planting beds using hoses, strings, flags or painting lines with water soluble paint around the property. Together, visit the different places inside and outside the house that offer views of the beds to determine if you both like where the beds are located.

Julie joins Desiree on CT Style to explain how kids can pick out Focal Points for their own gardens.
Video: CT Style.

Fantastic Focal Points
Encourage kids to draw attention to their favorite area of the yard or garden with a focal point, such as a statue or birdbath. Decide on a budget for their special object and then take a trip to a nearby garden center. Let them pick out any object that fits their budget and choose where to place it when you return home.

Garden Party
Place a kid‐sized table and chairs in an open spot in the garden. Send them out to the garden with lunch in a basket or a tea set on a tray. Let them invite friends over to dine alfresco.

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Land Design says:

    I have read this blog, as a good source of child’s entertainment outside of the home. It is a good effort. I like to share it with all,through social networking sites. Thank you for nice posting.