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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Teach the kids to garden!

Teach the Kids to Garden

Teach the Kids to Garden
With spring flowers beginning to poke up through the soil, April is a great time to begin introducing children to gardening! A simple first step in the process is to teach them about basic indoor plant care.

How you’ll integrate gardening and plant care into your child’s life depends heavily on his or her age, interest, and your own level of experience. If you’re a seasoned gardener, you may not need to do much research to get started. But if you’ve never spent much time with plants yourself, this is a great chance to learn about growing things together with your child. Here’s how to get started!

Talk to your children about a plant’s basic needs. Most plants need water, air, warmth, food, and light to survive. There are exceptions, of course, but for basic plant care, these are good conditions to aim for. Head to your local library or discount bookstore and look for kids’ gardening books—the more pictures, the better.

Let your child be involved in selecting the plant he or she wants to care for. Whether you start your plant from seeds, bulbs, or buds, your child is likely to take more of an interest if he or she is involved in the entire process. Make the process easier by pre-selecting three or four possibilities that will jive with your child’s personality, age, and interests and then let him or her choose from those options. Children will enjoy watching the progress of a plant that flowers or changes regularly.

Keep your child engaged by participating in plant care time with him or her. Let the kids take the reins on the actual care (it will mean more to them), and offer gentle guidance and praise for a job well done. Talk to them not only about how to water and feed their plants, but how those things help the plant to grow.

Record your progress! Have your child take a picture of his or her plant every day and track its growth in an online album or make a scrapbook together. Your child will love seeing the (literal!) fruits of his or her labor in photographs.

Talk about what you’ve learned together. Once your plant has matured some, talk to your child about what he or she has learned from the process, what worked or didn’t work, and what you might do differently next time. If your plant didn’t quite make it, talk openly about what you can do to nurture your next plant more effectively.

Caring for plants can be a wonderful opportunity to bond with your children!

Originally posted by Vocalpoint 4/11/2012

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