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Getting your kids interested in gardening might seem like an impossible task. With all the distractions in the technical world, you might think simple activities like planting and weeding, watering and digging would be too old-fashioned. However, there seems an urgency, where getting our children out into nature could be a matter of improving their health and the health of the planet.
Working with nature is wonderful exercise, and connecting with the outside can reduce stress and anxiety. Helping children to understand how the environment is related to the food we eat can also raise essential issues about sustainability. With all this in mind, we offer you some tips on how to get kids interested in gardening.
Begin with what you know
You know your child. You know they are different and individual, and therefore a strategy for one might not work for another. In short, we all engage with the world in different ways. Considering how your child learns best is a way of identifying a possible approach. For instance, they may be a visual learner or a physical learner, they may be a talented mathematician, or they may love to engage with sounds.
Your child might be interested in colours and shapes and may love forming patterns. The garden is a rich stimulus for such a child, and you can give them responsibility for designing the colours in your beds or your borders. You might want to encourage them to look closely at a plant or a leaf. The designs created by nature are more impressive then they might be able to imagine.
If your child loves patterns, then nature is a fantastic place to spend some time – and that includes your garden. On the surface, a garden may be chaotic. However, there are apparent issues of cause and consequences – therefore, there are processes. Also, the garden follows the cycle of the seasons, which can be mapped and understood. Giving young people who like logic the chance to read and digest facts and then apply this in your garden could be inspiring.
A garden is full of sound, and an auditory learner is a lover of listening. There is music to be found from the wind through the leaves and different insects that inhabit the garden. You can also use your child’s love of inter-personal relationships and conversations to share the experience of tending the garden. An aural learner will want to be part of the gardening project because they talk with you about the ideas and issues.
Gardening is ideal for physical learners! They love getting into the mix with a practical job. So, digging, planting, watering – all these will be lapped up by a physical learner. There are also possibilities to learn to climb trees, as well as practically to work with you to dig and fill a wildlife pond.
A verbal learner might not seem the most obvious inhabitant of the garden. However, if you work with your child writing stories inspired by the garden, or a blog recounting your efforts to develop your plot. There is a rich stimulus for the lover of words in the garden that should not be ignored.
Look to the hobbies they have now
You might not be sure which of these learner types fit your child. However, you will be happy to say what hobbies and interests they possess now. For instance, if they are enchanted by science, then you could look at parts of the garden through a microscope. If your child is passionate about animals, then you could build a pond that will attract small mammals to your garden. Are your children competitive? Then you could use this to help boost activity in the garden. How quickly can they dig a section of the garden? How many apples will grow on their tree? How many flowers will bloom in their basket and more.
Learning about the future
It is worth concluding with one final point about the environment and the climate crisis. We do not want to scare our children, but we do want to make them aware of the link between our actions of the environment. Teaching children about sustainability and how we are reliant on nature to provide our food is a valuable lesson that can be learned through your garden.