Living here in Southwest Florida, we have an awesome year-round opportunity to be outside. And in the last few months, we have discovered that learning does not have to happen in a classroom. This summer, teach the kids about caring for living things – they will love seeing their own personal garden grow. Check out these ideas for gardening for kids sure to make your summer more colorful.
Guide for Parents – Gardening for Kids
Sensory Flowers: Flowers that you can explore with multiple senses provide excellent opportunities for teaching and interacting with children.
- Daisies come in a rainbow of colors, grow back after being picked, and will return year after year.
- Lamb’s ear is extremely soft and fun to touch.
- Marigolds and Nasturtium flowers are edible–your kiddos can enjoy picking and eating flowers right from the garden.
- Explore their sense of smell with flowers that have pleasant scents, such as roses, lilies and lavender. Contrast with others that have not-so-pleasant odors, such as Crown Imperial fritillaria or yellow alyssum – and don’t worry, even though they don’t smell great, they add lots of aesthetic interest.
- Experiment with herbs. Have the kids smell a popular herb such as oregano, and ask them what food it reminds them of.
Attract Pollinators: Pollinators ensure the health and preservation of our flowers, trees, fruits, and vegetables. In fact, bee pollination alone provides us with 35% of our edible crops worldwide, including almonds, blueberries, cherries, broccoli, apples, and tomatoes. Without these hardworking insects, we would not be able to grow these crops. Planting flowers in your yard that attract insects like bees and butterflies can help you teach about the importance of pollinators.
- Grow species like Echinacea, black-eyed susan, lavender, butterfly milkweed, asters, and bee balm for some fun visits from insect neighbors.
- Look for bees with full pollen patches visiting your garden. Look more closely for butterfly eggs and caterpillars on some of the plants.
Create a Sunflower Fort: Sunflowers are gorgeous garden additions, and the varying heights of different sunflower species can be used to construct an awe-inspiring sunflower fort for the kids. There are many designs you could choose–some forts are made with a single spiral of sunflowers, while others consist of concentric circles with small openings so that you meander your way to the center. A sunflower fort is a perfect place for some shady afternoon reading, or for your children to hold secret “meetings” with siblings and friends. Gardening for kids was never more beautiful or fun.
Build a “Fairy Garden”: Bring some magic to your yard by constructing a fairy garden. There are many unique ways to create these mystical settings.
- Choose a section of your garden where your fairy will reside. For a mobile garden, use a low, long window box filled with soil.
- Next make a fairy house. Ideas include crafting a small door to place in front of a tree trunk or rock to give the illusion of a magical resident inside. If your children want a full house, you can easily use sticks and cloth to construct a small teepee-like structure or use popsicle sticks to make a cube-shaped home.
- Decorate the house and surrounding area with natural objects that a fairy would use in daily life–use pebbles to create little stone paths, add moss to serve as bushes, use acorn caps for their bowls or cups, use a clam shell as a pool.
- Plant flowers that will appear to be tall trees from a fairy’s point of view. The possibilities are as endless as your kid’s imagination!
Gardening for kids can instill a lifelong love of being outside and cultivating flowers, plants, and habitats for bees and butterflies. Shop Big Earth Landscape Supply for all of the containers, soil, rocks and garden tools that you will need.