Most kids love to care and nurture small things like kittens, puppies and plants. Encouraging their natural interest in growing things can lead to a life-long passion for gardening! Here are some tips to help “cultivate” their interest:
Kids love “pet-able” plants that feel soft to the touch! A lacy fern might fill the bill.
Cacti can be fascinating to children and require little care. But children should be warned to stay away from spines. It is probably best that they observe these plants from afar!
Growing simple seeds like beans in a Styrofoam cup is a favorite activity. Let the child decorate the cup with glitter, ribbons, paint, buttons and markers.
Growing bulbs in an unused glass terrarium (without the glass top) can help the child learn about root systems. These can be grown in the winter with the added bonus of winter flowers!
Growing herbs in pots can also be fun! Not only can the child see the plants grow, but they can help you use the herbs in wonderful dishes from your kitchen!
Give your child the responsibility to care for an indoor plant. As with a kitten or puppy, they are responsible for the care and feeding of that plant. Praise the child when the plant is doing well or discuss the reasons why the plant may not be doing well. This exercise provides a great opportunity to discuss the life cycle with your child.
The simple act of growing can be an introduction to a larger world for your child. The lessons of environmental responsibility, the growth cycle and the principle of sowing and reaping can all be shared as we allow our children to nurture a small living plant. And, as your child will learn, as you sow – so will you reap!