I love to do gardening stuff with my son. He is very clever and helps a lot; he also provides some surprises, like when corn appears among your lettuce. Despite some problems /picking green blueberries, stepping on young plants/ gardening with 2-3 year old humans can be fun. It is a whole new world for them, they have fun /and you too/and they learn a lot. So what my son like to do:
Sowing seeds: Plenty of fun. Planting is plenty of fun. I did it with him when we were sowing tomatoes: filling the pots with soil, making holes, putting in them little seeds and the watering them. Any 2 and 1/2 year old can do that. Then you can just sit back and supervise. Well, maybe not, but it is a great fun for them. I got plenty of seeds this year so I let my son plant a few pots on his own. I thought, a few seeds lost, no problem. Well, he did well and his tomato plants are now taller than he is .
Planting seeds and bulbs: This was another happy activity. In the autumn /he was a bit more then 2 years old/ we planted some flower bulbs. I made the holes and he decided which bulbs to put where. In the spring we were enjoying the beautiful view to our flower garden. After the tomato success we planted some lettuce, peas and later corn. It was plenty of fun and he enjoyed watching them grow. He is especially excited about the corn. It is true that after planting you have to thin the plants a bit /extra work/, but it is worth for the enjoyment and learning excercise for your kid.
Planting seedlings: This activity is a bit tricky, because you have to be careful to not destroy the young and tender plant. Well this was partly successful and he did not even enjoy it that much.
Watering: Watering is always fun. It is true that you have to make sure that your plants get also some water. Most of it ends up on you and on your child. Refreshing and fun.
Harvest: The most exciting thing to do. Finally you can pick and eat things to put them into your tummy. We bought him a little tractor with a trailer and he takes his picking jobs very seriously. When we were harvesting cherries he picked them and then he dumped them into the trailer. Then I had to pull the tractor, trailer, him and the cherries into the house, where I made jam. While pitting the cherries I was closely monitored and criticized by him. Maybe not so much fun for you but a lot for your offspring. We harvested peas, currants, strawberries, grapes and many more. Usually they end up in his tummy and harvest lasts until the tummy is full. But that is ok.
You can do many more things in the garden with your little one. Here are some basic tips to make your kid enjoy the joint projects.
– Do let him/her experience the whole thing, do not worry about the possible damage. If any it will small. The reward of happiness in their eyes is much more.
– Make the joint gardening about your kid. Everything will take 3x as long and maybe the things will be not perfect. That’s ok.
– Explain and show very slowly and clearly. Show only the basics. do not overcomplicate.
– Make sure your kid wears the right kind of protection especially against the strong sun.
– Make sure he or she does not eat the soil.
I will try to write more about our joint projects. I hope in 2 years my daughter will join us. Have fun with your kids in the garden.