Fall is upon us which means the kids are back to school but what’s even more exciting is that this is the start of our homegrown vegetable garden season! While it may still seem a bit hot, now is the perfect time to make a plan, prepare the garden and get those seedlings started. But you don’t have to do it alone! Get the kids out of the house and take them on an adventure in the garden today! Are you ready?
Zero to three years old
Children of all ages love being in the garden. Babies and toddlers, while too young to do tasks in the garden, benefit from sensory exploration in the garden. Try sitting with them in the grass and let them feel it between their fingers or let them play with the soil, if they get dirty, even better that’s half the fun! Help them to get to know the garden by naming plants and insects but what’s most important with children this age is to give them their space to explore the garden on their own.
Three to six
As the child gets older she is able to help with tasks in the garden. Pulling weeds which is the bane for most gardeners is actually something young children love to do. Describe to them the different plants in the garden and direct them as to what’s a weed and what are plants that you want to keep. Each time you return to the garden encourage them to name the plants, describe what kind of texture the leaves have or what is the plant used for.
This is a great age, especially five and six year olds, to get involved with sowing seeds too. You can add to the excitement of watching the plants growing by inviting them to do an experiment where they first sprout the seeds on a damp paper towel and then plant them in pots keeping some in the house and some outside. This is a learning experience for them to observe the differences between those growing indoors and those outside. Collecting seeds is a great activity for children this age; as their collection grows, so does the excitement about using them in the future.
Six to nine
At this age your children can start helping with more complex garden chores like loosening the soil and transplanting seedlings into the garden. Allow them to explore different elements
Before you know it your young gardeners will be dragging you out to the garden. Enjoying the garden as a family is a beautiful bonding experience. It also has many mental and physical benefits so don’t wait any longer, get outside and start growing your garden today!
Want to learn more about growing your own food at home? Unsure where to start? Visit our website and sign up for one of our Sustainable Farming 101 Workshops at www.agraliving.org.
Chris Faria is the founder of The AgraLiving Institute and is a certified GROW BIOINTENSIVE™ teacher. Follow them on
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