This list of items and tips will help you garden with kids and not lose your mind! Gardening with kids can be fun and rewarding. Spending time in the garden together can be a simple way to create great memories together as a family.
When I think about gardening with kids, I imagine a beautiful sunny day, birds chirping in the background, and all the sweet children happily helping mom and dad in the garden. While it might be a nice thought, it may not be reality. Nap times, snack times, and desire to help are things that can interfere with kids helping the in garden.
Here is a list of things that may help you garden with your kids and not lose your mind. These things have been so helpful to me. I hope you find them helpful too!
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A tent with a zipper and UV protection is a great way to protect baby from the sun. The zipper will help keep baby in and the bugs out. Put a few toys in the tent with him and hopefully he’ll be able to entertain himself for a while. The bigger kids can take breaks in the tent too.
The tent has a mesh door so baby can see out at all times. There are also mesh “windows” on each side so baby can get a good breeze.
When our youngest son was a newborn the tent was a life saver! We would put the tent in a safe spot and put him in there with a blanket, and he would sleep through anything! Weed eater, tiller, no outside noises would phase him. These results may not be typical, because he was always a great sleeper.
The tent we have is going on 5 years old! It has held up great! We’ve used it at the beach and t-ball games and never had any issues. You can also use a pack-n-play for baby. Just cover it with a crib sheet to help provide shade and keep bugs away.
2. Kid Sized Tools
Your kids will see you using tools and will either want to borrow yours or have their own. Our kids love to use wheelbarrows, rakes, shovels, and spades in the garden
3. An Area to Dig Just for the Fun of it!
Just about every kid loves to dig! Having at least one area in the garden that your kiddos can dig and play in is a great idea. It might be a good idea to keep this area close to the garden so you can keep an eye on them, but not too close to an area that has more delicate plants. Put some digging tools, trucks, rocks and other such items to keep it exciting.
4. An Area for Water Play
Working in the garden in the middle of the summer can make anyone overheated and cranky. One good way to cool off quickly is to have a water play area. The kids (and their parents) can benefit from splashing around to cool down. We just use an old turtle shaped sandbox. The water is very shallow so even the baby can enjoy it!
5. A Kid Garden
Whether it’s a part of the family garden, or if they have their very own garden space, kids will be much more invested in caring for plants they’ve picked out. The baby doesn’t have his own garden, but the big kids do! Mark converted a couple of pallets into small raised beds for the kiddos. Each year they get to pick out what they want to plant. They take a lot of pride in caring for their own garden. This year Buddy is planting chocolate mint, cucumbers, and carrots. Goose has chosen green beans, cucumbers, and sunflowers. She also has added a fairy garden with some little gnomes, fairies, sticks, rocks and other such items to give her garden space a personal touch.
This year we built new raised beds for the big kids. They are excited to plant soon!
I personally love going to our local green house each spring to pick out plants and seeds. And I really love bringing all the kids with me so they can see the wide variety of vegetables and flowers. It’s fun to help them plan out what they want to plant, and show them how to care for their seeds and young plants. My kids are always so excited when they actually get to harvest something from their very own garden.
6. Boot Washing Area
Someone is always tracking muddy footprints inside the house during the summer. And mopping is one of my least favorite chores to do! All the kids have garden boots and we have a designated foot and boot washing area off of the back porch. This really helps cut down on the amount of mud that gets tracked through the house.
7. Find Ways to Include Them
Whether it’s watering, planting, pulling weeds, or harvesting try to include your kiddos where possible. Our kids love to help with the watering. So they each have their own watering can. With a little guidance you can teach them how to water things.
There is always so much work to be done in the garden, and many hands make light work. So wherever they’re willing to help – let them!
8. Baby Monitor
Nap time can be the best time to garden! Once Pedro lays down for a nice afternoon or morning nap, I can sneak out to the garden and get some things done! A great baby monitor makes it possible for me to be in the garden and still keep an eye on him.
I use a monitor that let’s me see and hear baby. It even has a button I can push to talk to him.
8. Patience and Perspective
The days are long, but the years are short. This was said to me for the first time at my oldest son’s baby shower. Honestly, it rings truer and truer with each passing year. Some days with your kids are just so perfect you wish you could freeze time. Other days you’re just hoping you can make it to bed time. Whether the days are picture perfect or absolutely exhausting, they will pass quickly. Kids grow up way quicker than you imagine.
With that perspective in mind, try to garden with patience. Sure your kids may stomp baby plants, eat dirt, pick unripe veggies, make messes, and do other things that make you feel like you’re losing your mind. Do your best to harness their excitement and include them as much as possible. When your kids are grown they probably won’t remember how amazing and perfect the garden was, but they will remember the time they spent with you in the garden.
So just like we are extra tender with the small sprouts, patiently caring for them and watching over them, do the same with your kiddos. The big goal is to love your kiddos well, in the garden and everywhere else. Fingers crossed that they may enjoy gardening as much as you.
What Are Your Tips and Tricks For Gardening With Kids?
Let me know in the comments!
Want to Get a Jump Start on Your Garden This Year?
Check out How to Start Seeds Indoors Using Egg Shells. My kids love helping with this, and I bet yours will too!