is a fun activity for both parents and their children. Here are a few
pointers to help your child discover his green fingers.
Children love to play in the mud. Put a child in a garden and in no time he will be digging in the dirt, making mud pies,
looking for worms, etc. But gardening can also be an educational
experience for your child. He will learn how to connect with his
natural surroundings. He will also get a first hand view of the miracle
of life. Gardening with your child is also a great bonding experience
as it teaches both the child and the parent how to work together.
Planning a Garden
Before getting started on your garden, some degree of planning
is essential. The size and type of garden will depend a lot, on how old
your child is. A very young child will probably only be able to look
after one plant whereas an older child can handle much more. In
addition to age, also take into account your child's skill level and
attention span. Does your child have the patience to tend to a plant
over the period required for it to grow to maturity? If not, you will
have to select a fast growing plant.
The next step is to determine how much space
you have available to set up your garden. If you live in a house with a
backyard or compound, you will be able to devote a patch of land to
your garden. If you live in an apartment, your child can still have a
garden of his own. He can grow a potted plant or set up a small garden
in a tray. Setting up a garden in an apartment is possible and it just
requires a little ingenuity.
Once you have decided on where you want to set up your child's garden
and how much space is available, its time to decide what your child can
Talk to accomplished gardeners or read up on gardening books. You need
to have some idea of how long the selected plant will take to grow. You
also need to be informed about the ideal growth conditions for the
plant. How much water and fertiliser is necessary, the type of soil
required, etc. are all factors to be taken into consideration.
Your child also has a say in the garden. After all, it is going to be his creation. Find out what plants he is fond of. Vegetables
are one the best options for a child's garden. Most of them are
relatively easy to grow. In addition, your child will have the
satisfaction of being able to eat something he has nurtured himself.
This could also be a chance for you to introduce him to new vegetables
or get him to eat those vegetables that he normally shies away from.
For flowering plants, your child may pick out a plant from a book. He
can decide which ones he likes or the plants he thinks will look good.
Be careful though. Some plants release toxic substances to ward off
pests, which could also make your child ill. Plants like roses may look
and smell beautiful but their stems have sharp thorns, which can hurt
your child's delicate fingers.
Buying the Equipment
Gardening requires some basic equipment. Your child will need gloves to
protect his hands. He will also require implements like shovels, rakes,
trowels, etc. A young child cannot use the same implements as you. Most
gardening stores have a section where they keep implements that are
suitable for children. These garden tools will be smaller than those
meant for adults. They will also have dulled edges, so that your child
does not accidentally hurt himself.
Depending on the type of plant chosen, you will have to
purchase either seeds or saplings. Seeds are cheaper to purchase and
allow your child to experience the wonder of a complete plant growing
from a tiny seed. Some plants are difficult to grow from a seed, hence
should be purchased as saplings. Saplings cost more that seeds but they
are also suitable for young children that may not have the patience to
wait for a plant to grow.
is a fun activity for the entire family. A child gets to spend time
with his parents and is allowed to play in the mud. At the same time,
gardening also teaches him how life begins and how to live in peace