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Spending Time in the Garden

Children are natural gardeners.  They are curious, like to learn by doing and love to play in the dirt.  Working in a garden, a child can experience the satisfaction child-spring-gardenthat comes from caring for something over time, while observing the cycle of life firsthand. 

Focus on making it fun and exciting. When children realise how many interesting, intriguing and even gross things there are to be involved in, they'll be more likely to want to get involved. Whenever planning anything, work out the fun angle, to keep your children's interest engaged.

A big part of the fun is having the right tools and there are many gardening tools made just for children, in their size, and in wonderful colours.  Gardening gloves for kids often come in wonderful colours and patterns too and each child should have a pair of his or her own.  Buy a pretty watering can which suits the child's size and strength.  This will encourage him or her to keep watering the growing plants.

While it's important to involve your children in choosing the plants, make sure that the choice is from plants likely to be as trouble-free as possible, especially for beginner gardeners. Also choose a few plants that will produce a delicious edible harvest for your children to pick and take straight to the table from the garden. Some good starter choices include:

Sunflowers
Radishes
Squash
Tomatoes (from seedlings)
Lettuces
Peas and beans
Sweet peas, poppies, alyssum, marigolds, pansies or nasturtiums.

For very small hands, make the job even easier by planting the seeds in cardboard egg cartons. When it comes time to transfer the seedling (or the seed) to the soil, cut out each little egg holding portion and let your kids plant the whole thing into the ground. The carton will disintegrate and no seeds or seedlings get lost in the transition.

Add a birdbath, bird feeder and feeders.  Children will love the experience of seeing child-spring-garden birds in the garden.

Show children how to grow plants from cuttings.  This will amaze them endlessly, to see how you can take a cutting and get a new plant. Try plants that take easily to begin with, such as succulents, begonias.

Make items for the garden. Get crafty with the kids and recycle, repurpose and remake things that can serve as decorations or tools in the garden. There are lots of possibilities, including:

Turning an old tire into a garden bed or plant protector
Making herb or plant markers from iced confectionery sticks
Painting a planter or flowerpot container in bright colours and designs.
Make a bird feeder

Remember to keep making gardening an exciting experience and be enthusiastic about it. 

Gardening is an experience for life and one of the lessons it teaches children is that there is a season for everything and that it all cycles again. Learning this can be highly beneficial, especially for children prone to spending a lot ofchild-spring-garden time indoors and in cars going to other indoor places.