Growing up my dad kept a garden in our yard. He planted radishes, onions, beans and tomatoes. I still love the taste of a fresh tomato on a cheeseburger. It seems like many adults have wonderful memories of growing things – planting a bean seed in a baggie or placing sunflower seeds in a dixie cup.
Through gardening, you encourage discovery and curiosity. Gardening is also great for your child’s development. When you share the steps to prepare and plant a garden, your child learns about processes and problem-solving. Children use fine motor and gross motor skills as they dig, plant seeds and water plants.
A garden is full of unique vocabulary like compost, sowing and trowel. Bring in math by asking your child to count the seeds they plant and later count the flowers or vegetables in the garden. You can incorporate science concepts when you talk about how a plant grows.
Look at gardening through the lens of your child. Delight in nature. Planting a garden can be as simple as placing a lima bean in a paper cup filled with potting soil. An herb garden provides a sensory experience, and it’s a garden your child can touch and taste. Gardening is great time together that extends your bond.
I love the idea of a “can-do” garden for young children. It’s a garden where the jobs are things a child can do like carry a watering can, fill pots, pick ripe vegetables or taste a tomato. For a successful gardening experience, try a plant that is easy-to-grow and matures quickly. I’ve had success with radishes, lettuce and pumpkins. If you want to brush up on your gardening skills Shawnee County Extension has some great online classes in May.