Gardening is like a big lesson in science, nutrition and nature, all rolled into one. It has so many advantages for children. Besides the time to bond and share nature with your child, you can teach your children about photosynthesis or how plants grow and use our carbon dioxide and how we use their oxygen.
Your children also learn responsibility and compassion for living things because they know these plants need food and water.
How do you get started? Look for a sunny spot in your yard. Start small and make sure there are paths (about two feet wide) around your garden for safety and the ease of your child getting around.
If space is an issue, you can even use a container or large flower pot.
Use only organic products - with children around you don't use chemical pesticides or fertilizers. Also, you might want to make all plants edible.
Look for a variety of plants. Children like extremes. Plant something large like a sunflower, small like radishes, and colorful like pumpkins, strawberries and rhubarb.
Set the safety rules from the beginning. A rake, hoe or shovel should never be left with its tines or blades up. Also, make sure your child doesn't eat anything from the garden before checking with you first.
Invest in good quality child-size tools - the plastic ones aren't so great.
Remember bugs are cool to children. Don't pass on your feelings if they make you squeamish…teach your children about the worms, caterpillars and spiders and the good they do. You might even want a worm bin for composting.
Also, keep it fun and simple. Don't worry if the seeds all end up in one spot or you only plant a few things. The fun is just being outdoors together.