Get The Kids In The Garden

By Ann Baisden May 20, 2017

It’s prime gardening season in Ohio right now.  Whether you’re a seasoned pro with a green thumb, or a newbie at gardening, getting the kids involved will make it even more fun.

I was able to talk with Hannah Halfhill, the Youth Educator at Toledo Botanical Garden, and she had some great tips for gardening with children:

Start small. Taking care of a ton of plants when you’re already rushing around all summer can seem overwhelming, so it may be best to start small.  Maybe a plant or two in pots on the deck is more your style. It doesn’t take much-a couple pots, a pack of seeds, and a bag of dirt. Get the kids into a routine of going out every morning to check if the seeds have sprouted yet.

Decide what works best in your area and your lifestyle. Vegetable plants usually require lots of water and sun, whereas herbs and fairy gardens may be lower maintenance.  Pick something you can enjoy-whether you will be eating it or it’s just a pretty flower pot that you’ll see every day. Make sure the kiddos know all that work pays off.

Make it fun! Pulling weeds in the hot sun with bugs everywhere may sound miserable-so make games out of it. Who can find more different kinds of bugs? Who can pull the most weeds? And of course, a water fight with the hose or playing in the sprinkler while the plants get watered is great way to cool off after working hard.

Gardening provides life lessons for kids. Patience is the number one key to a successful garden.  Plants take time to grow, just like kids take time to learn to take care of their plants. Responsibility is a significant benefit for young gardeners.  Having each child pick their own plant and learn when it needs water, where it should be placed for ideal sunlight, and pulling all the pesky weeds that may sprout up around it, will make picking that first strawberry even sweeter.

You can also bring your kids to Toledo Botanical Garden this summer. There are so many events on the calendar.  They have a Pirate and Princess Picnic, Children’s Theater Workshop is presenting The Imaginators, and a Literacy in the Garden event in August. Check out the calendar on Macaroni Kid Toledo’s website for all the dates!