Get dirty! 5 tips for gardening with your kids

Some of my fondest memories from childhood are of smelling the flowers in my great grandmother's garden or chasing my cat under my abuelita's mango tree. My mom in particular has a green thumb and I always love going home to some of the fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs she's growing in her backyard. With the move toward healthier eating, I would like to teach my kids how to garden and grow their own food. With a little help from these tips, I think any parent could create a great family garden—all with the help of even the youngest members of the family. Here's how.


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1. Make sure that the garden is really their space.  If you're gardening with your kids make sure that they actually get to participate! I think we have a tendency to show them how to do it and then just want to do everything ourselves, but don't. Make sure that you're allowing them to take ownership.

2. Don't plan for something that doesn't work in your climate. Definitely ask the kids what they would like to grow, but keep in mind that not everything will work in your backyard depending on where you live. Keep in mind local conditions and explain to them how seasonal climate plays in to it.

3. Let them get their hands really, really dirty. I know it might be stressful to see all the stains and dirt that happens when kids are gardening, but try not to worry about it too much. Remember that everything can be washed and get some designated "just for gardening" clothes that are OK to use.

4. Try growing something the family will actually eat. Not only are kids more likely to eat fruits and vegetables that they grew themselves, but seeing the rest of the family enjoying them will also bring on a new sense of pride for their hard work—and will keep them coming back to the garden.

5. Keep learning and keep it fun in the end. Make sure to keep up the conversation by asking them questions when you're back home and encouraging them to keep journals or scrapbooks. And make sure to keep it fun by inviting their friends in on occasion and letting them pitch in, too.

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How are you planning to teach your kids about gardening?

Image via Chris.P/flickr

Topics: exercise  gardening