Growing Your Own Food: How to Teach Kids about It
Most children have the potential of becoming great gardeners if you provide them with the necessary tools, knowledge, and assistance. That’s because gardening when you’re a kid implies playing in the dirt, finding out interesting things about plants, learning by doing, experiencing the satisfaction of eating something that you’ve grown by yourself, and so on. Not to mention the fact that growing your own food is an extremely healthy life choice. If you want to teach your children the basics of growing your own food, then you’re in the right place. Today’s guide will take you through all the steps you should follow.
10 Tips for Growing Your Own Food with Your Children
1. Don’t Make the Process Too Long
Children don’t have the patience that adults do when it comes to waiting for something to grow in the garden. This is why, if you want to keep them interested, you should find something that grows rather quickly. This way, your children will be able to see the results of their labor as each day passes by. If this is the case, then there are fewer chances of them getting bored and start focusing on something else.
2. Provide Them with Their Own Space
Offering your children their own space where they can grow food has more than one benefit. First of all, they’ll feel like you’re taking their contribution seriously and trust them to handle growing food by themselves. Second of all, you can create the space according to their needs. For instance, the best place for a child to grow food in is a raised bed. Raised beds are easier to maintain and reach, which will make the entire process much more comfortable.
3. Enjoy the Process
One of the main purposes of growing your own food with your children is for both them and you to enjoy the process. Think about it, you’ll be spending time together, learn about different types of plants, and consume a healthy meal afterward. Whatever you decide on growing, remember that it should be enjoyable, not a chore.
4. Respect Their Decisions
If you want to teach your children the practice of growing your own food year-round, you’re going to have to allow them to make their own decisions regarding what they want to grow. Think about the fact that they’re more likely to be excited about the prospect of growing something they enjoy eating than something they should be eating.
5. Start Easy
If you don’t want to start the process of growing your own food with vegetables, you can always try helping your children grow some herbs instead. They’re much easier to tend to and grow quite fast. Not to mention the fact that you can store them for longer periods of time and use them whenever you need some extra flavor in your meals.
6. Try Planting Things That They Can Dig
You should keep in mind that for children, gardening can become a real treasure hunt. They take pleasure in digging through the dirt and discovering the fruits of their labor there. Which is why you can try planting some carrots, potatoes, or beets. Imagine the excitement on your child’s face when he or she will get to dig up a carrot, wash it, and eat it right away.
7. Provide Them with Real Tools
This is a really important thing to remember when teaching kids about growing your own food. Providing them with plastic toy tools isn’t just going to make them feel like you’re not taking them seriously, but also make the process much more difficult for them. As long as you’re careful with the tools you give them and supervise them at all times, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t get “the real thing”.
8. Make Sure They’re Constantly Engaged
One of the main things that you should teach your children when it comes to growing your own food is that they have to be active every step of the way in order for their garden to thrive. Don’t allow them to simply plant the seeds and then let you do all the work. Explain that if they want to enjoy fresh vegetables, they have to care for them at all times.
9. Build a Scarecrow
Something that might pique your child’s interest in gardening is the promise that you can make a scarecrow together. This can be a fun little extra activity for you two to do, and one that has a practical side as well.
10. Show Them You’re Proud of Their Work
Children are more likely to become interested in gardening if you show them you appreciate their effort and are proud of them for making it. This can involve anything from congratulating them on their work to showing off their side of the garden to other people.
5 Plants That Are Easy for a Child to Grow
Now that we’ve covered the basics of what you should know when growing your own food with your children, we thought it would be useful to provide you with a list of 5 fruits and vegetables that you can suggest to your child for an easy harvest.
Let’s be honest, strawberries are some of the most delicious fruits your child could grow in the garden. Plus, harvesting them is also fun, since they don’t ripen simultaneously. This means your child can come to check for new fruits every single day. Strawberries don’t need a lot of space to grow and are quite low-maintenance. Moreover, they can be eaten as such, or placed in desserts, jams, or jellies.
The process of growing potatoes can be really interesting for a child, as he or she follows how the seeds turn into a sprout that you later transplant in the garden. Another thing that can be both interesting and fun is harvesting the potatoes, as we’ve already mentioned. These vegetables are delicious and easy to care for, making them the perfect choice for a child to plant in the garden.
When it comes to cabbage, we advise you to choose giant varieties, since these might interest your children more. What’s even more interesting is the fact that these varieties grow to be so big in just a couple of weeks, which ticks the suggestion of choosing plants that don’t take a long time to grow.
Sunflowers aren’t only gorgeous to look at, but also nutritious for your children. However, it’s not necessary to eat the sunflower seeds once they develop. You could also explain to your child that birds can feed on them if you leave them as they are. Some sunflower varieties can grow rather large, making for a lovely display of color in your garden that your child is bound to love.
Radishes are some of the most convenient plants that you can allow your children to care for when teaching them the basics of growing your own food. They’re easy to take care of, they develop really fast, they’re healthy, nutritious, and delicious. Plus, they’re fun to pull out of the soil, which is a great added benefit.
3 Extra Fun Things to Tell Your Children About Growing Your Own Food
As today’s guide is drawing to a close, we wanted to also mention 3 interesting tidbits that you can share with your children while you’re working together in the garden.
1. Farming History
Your child might be interested in the history of farming, which is why you should satisfy his or her curiosity. For instance, you could explain how a hundred years ago, people would use horses and plows to tend to their land. Explain how having small farms that you would take care of by yourself has made way for industrial farms that belong to large corporations and that use advanced machines to take care of the plants. Make sure to also underline the fact that individual gardening and farming is not obsolete, and you two are a clear example of that.
Another interesting concept that would be worth explaining to your child is that of a greenhouse. Especially if you have one in your garden, but also if you don’t, your child should know about the benefits of growing your own food in a greenhouse. You can even try building a tiny one together and experiment with some crops.
3. Organic Farming
Finally, children should be aware of the practice of organic farming, since it brings so many benefits both to the people and to the environment. You don’t have to go into a lot of details on the topic. Just explain what it means and why it’s healthier and safer for our planet.
Summing It All Up
There are many benefits that come with the grow your own food movement, and children should be made aware of them. But apart from the more practical reasons behind this choice, we hope today’s guide has managed to prove that you should try to make this practice as entertaining as possible for your child. Remember all the tips and tricks above and allow your children to start their own garden as soon as possible.