A garden is an interactive playground that engages all senses and teaches lessons without forcing them — think responsibility, cause and effect, curiosity, physical activity and a budding love of nature. Hands-on involvement in basic gardening encourages self-confidence, and can even teach gratitude for the people in this world that keep us fed.
There is nothing more rewarding than the fruits of your own labor! Here are three great plants to get the kids started.
Nothing screams summer like biting right into a fresh, juicy strawberry. The only thing that could make it taste better is one grown in your own garden! Pick up a starter plant from a local nursery. In a raised bed that is easy to access, plant your strawberries. Children will love watching the white flower grow to be a small green berry and finally the reward of a bright red one to munch on.
Tip: It’s best to keep these in a raised bed so you get to taste the fruit before some pesky rabbit does.
Patience is an important virtue for children to learn, but it’s one they won’t need when growing snap peas! Snap peas grow quickly and early in the season, making them rewarding to grow and fun to observe daily as you search for new pea pods. Plus, they’re perfect for snapping off a delicious, healthy snack.
Did I hear mojitos? Mint is an invasive plant, so it must be kept in a container or raised bed, but this super grower will give you and your child plenty of fresh-smelling leaves for recipes and crafts all summer long! You can start from seed (indoors in early March) or a starter plant later in the season. Crush some leaves and place them in a container as a smelling jar for young ones, or let the older kids make a hot peppermint tea and notice the relaxing benefits.
This is another fragrant herb that is easy to grow and can be dried to enjoy year-round! Grab a starter plant from a nursery and stick it in some dirt. Let your children run their fingers gently over the leaves to release some of the scent. This is a great sensory activity that can be dried for use in recipes or even in creative crafts.
Add some pops of color to your child’s garden by growing sunflowers. Not are they some of the easiest flowers to germinate, but they’re a great learning experience for kids. Start the seeds inside, then when they’re ready, transplant them in your outdoor garden as you teach your kids all about how plants grow. If you’re successful, you might just have a towering sunflower to snap your child’s picture with by the end of the summer!
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