When a child grows up in an urban environment, he or she doesn’t have a real connection to the Earth. Apples, lettuce and bananas simply come from the produce department at the store. Showing children how plants grow is a great way to introduce several topics, including science, into their world. Follow a few of these tips as you teach kids how to garden.
One of the best tips to follow is letting the kids get dirty. Put away the gardening gloves. Allow the kids to dip their fingers into the rich soil. Feeling the soil and its texture gives them an idea about how the roots will grow into it. Discuss how important the soil is to the plant. Without nutrients and oxygen flowing through the soil grains, no plant can flourish. Show the kids how to rinse their hands afterward for a complete experience.
Buy the Right Tools
Kids won’t feel comfortable with adult tools, such as a heavy gardening trowel. Take a cue from an arborist, such as Tree Survey, and choose the perfect tool for the job. Kids should have tools that are designed for their hands and age. Go online, and buy several tools for the gardening experience. They’ll feel more connected to the process as a result.
Choose Familiar Plants
Always begin with a common plant. Choose something that you might find in your refrigerator, such as lima beans or strawberries. Because the child already has a concept of the food, explaining its origins as a plant is easy.
Children’s minds grow when they can connect things together in their minds. Looking at lima beans on your plate and then growing them puts the plant into perspective. Gardening suddenly looks intriguing and fun.
Explain the Basic Science
As you plant and grow your seeds, explain the basic science behind the process. Start with naming the parts of the plant as it grows out of the soil. You might talk about sunlight, water and how these substances work together to grow a plant.
If your child has a question that you cannot answer, look up the solution at a library or reputable website. Show that you’re interested in learning more so that the child mimics this behavior.
Eat the Fruits
Nothing is better than receiving a reward after working hard on a project. As the plant bears fruit, encourage the child to eat it. This action completes the food web as its known to the child. He or she will love how everything is connected, from watering the soil to tasting the delicious fruit. Applying this knowledge to the next part of the garden will only make the activity even more exciting.
As the child grows, he or she may want to plant items in a larger area than before. Encourage this behavior because you may have a child who’ll study agriculture in the future. Plants and gardening are a critical part to the human experience. Learning about the basics will inspire others to care for the Earth.