Working with children and getting them interested in gardening is a passion of mine. Its not only something that I want to work with my son with this year but I’d like to share my experiences in the hope that I can help others in their efforts. So this is the first post in what I’m calling Gardening With Children.
Starting seeds is a great way to get kids involved – essentially right from the beginning – in the gardening process.
1. Depending on the child’s age you can ask them which seeds they’d like to start. Of course you might have to explain that you can’t start something because its just not the right time or that its a seed you direct sow. They will understand. This will help them start to understand choices and how we arrive at certain decisions.
2. Math games – if you are planting in a plastic flat you can teach some basic addition and multiplication. Count the rows and columns of planting spaces and have them figure out how many seeds you need. This is an opportunity also to teach some practical math that I feel might be lacking in today’s teachings at school. Each plant has a germination period. Work with the child to figure out when the seeds should sprout and check back with them. You can also work with them to establish planting depth.
3. Reading/Letters – my son is a little too young to read well but when we plant thyme I ask him what “thyme” starts with – which letter. Sometimes we have to sound it out but this is a practical application, he can see me write in on the plant labels.
4. History – when we planted dill yesterday this gave me the perfect opportunity to explain to my son his heritage and that our name is Norse in origin and that our ancestors a long time ago used dill medicinally to soothe their stomachs and help digestion (also he learns about medicinal plants). This opens up an opportunity to talk about geography and things that like that as well.