Five ways to get your kids into gardening
1 March 2022
Research shows that children who play outside are happier, have better concentration, and are less anxious than kids who spend more time indoors1. Gardening is a wonderful way to encourage your children to venture outside. Not only does it teach them lessons about nature and nutrition, but tending to a garden gives them a sense of responsibility.
Here are five tips for getting your children into gardening.
Be inspired by the gardens around you
Before you start your gardening project with your children, take your family on a couple of outings to botanical gardens and nature reserves to get some inspiration. Try the subtropical wonderland at Mt Coot-tha just outside Brisbane, or the classic green spaces of the City Botanic Gardens beside the Brisbane CBD. Or if you’re (much) further north, discover the only wet tropic botanic garden in the country — the Flecker Gardens, located right in the centre of Cairns. On your visits, prompt your kids to think about the types of plants in the gardens, what kind of fauna they attract, and what plants are native to Australia – and, more locally, to Queensland. Think certain species of the myrtle family, mulgas, lilies, wattles and eucalypts.
Give your children their own garden
You might be tempted to ask your kids to help you with a gardening project you’ve already started, but if you really want them to get involved, give them their own patch. It doesn’t have to be a big space – you can start with a few pots or a planter box – but the idea is that they have their own unique area to nurture.
Let your children choose what they plant
Like most things in life, if your kids feel they’re involved in the decision-making process, they’ll be more inclined to stay interested. Allowing them to choose what they want to grow is a sure-fire way to kickstart their interest. You can suggest some quick-growing plants that grow well in a sub-tropical and tropical environment, such as sunflowers or corn, or fun edible options, like pumpkins, tomatoes, lettuce or strawberries, but ultimately it should be their choice.
Make gardening fun
As tempting as it might be to recruit your kids to pull weeds, this isn’t the best way to engage them. There are lots of fun things to do in the garden that will keep kids occupied. Plant shrubs to attract native birds, like hakeas or banksias, or grow passionfruit vines, beans or sweet peas along a trellis or fence. This can look impressive, and your kids will have fun picking food off the vine! Another fun idea is to upcycle objects to create a fairy garden.
Encourage your kids to reap the rewards
One of the most rewarding aspects to gardening is enjoying it, whether it’s eating what you’ve grown, picking the flowers, or simply sitting amongst the greenery.
Encourage your children to enjoy what they’ve made by:
- cooking up a meal together with something they’ve grown,
- pressing some of their flowers so they can keep them forever, or
- hosting a tea party or picnic in the backyard.
If your children have the chance to appreciate – and celebrate – the brilliance they’ve brought to their garden, then they will be encouraged to make gardening a long-lasting hobby.
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