When the ground thaws and the first crocuses appear, so do the garden plans and seed packets. Gloves, shovels, buckets, and watering cans draw a child’s attention like bees to honey. Kids love to get out in the dirt and help with growing plants, so teach them these 5 tips to teach kids how to care for plants, from our Blog Ambassador Julie of Happy Strong Home.
5 Tips to Teach Kids How to Care for Plants
1. Letting dirt breathe. Kids love to dig in the dirt. From their experiences with sandboxes and beaches, they’ll be likely to pack dirt into a pot or garden bed a bit too firmly. Talk about how plants and seeds need a little air in their dirt, so they can breathe. Use a small garden cultivator to allow them to break up the dirt gently before depositing seeds or inserting a seedling.
2. Seed spacing. Each kind of flower or vegetable will have different spacing needs ranging from an inch to a foot. Check your packets and then give children a visual at their level for what that looks like. An inch is about two or three fingers apart. A foot might be the length of their arm. Whatever is handy for them to use as a guide will work.
3. Proper watering. Watering cans can be so fun for kids, but there’s often the danger of over-watering. Plants that are directly in the ground can usually handle it, because there’s enough area for the water to run off quickly. But plants in a container or pot can get drowned and soggy. Teach kids to test the soil before watering and then only water until soil is “sticky.” (Here’s a handy plant watering activity that teaches kids to know the different between dry, over-watered, and “just right” soil).
4. Learn about indoor plant care. Indoor plants usually come already planted and full-grown, so this can be a great way to start for little ones who can’t wait for those seeds to sprout. With a small indoor plant, young children can learn how to water properly, and how to place the plants in good light so they can grow. Give children a spray bottle to help them not over-water the plants, and avoid spills. Plus squirting a spray bottle or mister is good fun, and excellent motor skill action!
5. Give them ownership. Include watering plants on their to-do or daily chores list so they remember to keep an eye on their growing plant friends. Set kids up with their own kid-sized garden tools and gardening tote, so they take ownership over their plot of land or plant pots. A themed watering can that is just their size is easier for them to handle, and easy to spot in the backyard as well!
Taking some time to teach kids how to care for plants gives kids skills to enjoy gardening and growing plants for their whole life! These five tips for helping kids care for plants also helps keep those green leafy friends healthy and fruitful as well!
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