Last year my niece and nephew helped me plant a flower bed in my backyard. They were excited to help dig up holes and carefully tuck flowers into the bed. They happily helped with watering every time they came over. The pride that they had in “their” flowers that they planted was priceless. Seven of my ten nieces and nephews live nearby, which means that this year, I’m planning an even bigger flower bed!
Gardening with kids is a great family bonding experience that can teach life skills, too. For me, planting a garden with my nieces and nephews gives us another reason to get together and a way to keep their little hands busy. By allowing youth to help plan, plant and tend a garden, you can help them strengthen skills like responsibility, independence, empathy and problem solving.
When planning your kid-friendly garden, try growing plants that kids will love to eat and look at. A few great options are:
- Snackable plants like cherry tomatoes or strawberries.
- Sensory plants like sweet smelling mint, fuzzy dusty miller or smooth pumpkins.
- Plants of different sizes like tall sunflowers or thyme with tiny leaves.
No matter if you are an aunt, parent, grandparent, teacher or neighbor, consider including youth in your gardening plans this year. Not only will you have a couple extra hands to help you tend to your plants, you will be cultivating new life skills in a child’s life.
K-State Research and Extension, Harvey County
Courthouse, PO Box 583, Newton, KS 67114-0583