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Let Them Eat Dirt – The Joys Of Gardening With Kids

gardening see trayHonestly?

We got 5 inches of snow this weekend where I live on the lovely prairies of Western Canada. Our weird climate will mean it will all most likely be gone by this afternoon.

It’s weather like that which got me some weird looks when I started poking around Home Depot the first March we moved here asking about gardening supplies.  In this neck of the woods, you don’t put anything in the ground until the May Long Weekend – even then, you should probably hold off until June.

Hopefully your gardening season is already starting up, and while I sit here and wait to get dirty with the boys, a list of 10 tips to help your kids learn a love for gardening.

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  • Invest In Kid-Sized Tools 1 of 10
    Invest In Kid-Sized Tools
    Your children will want to help with every step, and they will want to do what you're doing. Instead of having them try to work the big shovels, grab some lightweight, mini-versions of what you're using so they can participate.

    via About Kids Health
  • Don’t Worry About A Little Dirt 2 of 10
    Don't Worry About A Little Dirt
    I'm not talking about the mess the dirt creates on their clothes and under their nails, we're talking about the dirt they eat. Kids will eat a teaspoon of soil on occasion if they're under 3. It's not necessarily a bad thing either. A few small bites won't hurt them. To better have a safe environment, use compost instead of manure as fertilizer.

    via About Kids Health
  • Embrace Their Love Of Mess 3 of 10
    Embrace Their Love Of Mess
    You may not like getting dirty, but they'll love it. If you don't want to massage a spot, rinse of a bucket or kneel in the mud to reach a corner, chances are your kids will do it. My father always had us wear our 'grubbies' for gardening. So maybe save an old set of worn out clothes for garden days and yard work.

    via About Kids Health
  • Let Them Use Their Hands 4 of 10
    Let Them Use Their Hands
    Sharing the responsibility really makes it a team effort. From plucking the ends off carrots, to cleaning the ears of corn or shelling pounds and pounds of peas, and dead heading - show them once and let them have at it.

    via About Kids Health
  • There Can Still Be Rules 5 of 10
    There Can Still Be Rules
    Just because you're letting them get dirty, doesn't mean you're letting them run wild. Still stick with instructions like "don't step on the seeds," and "stay to the pathway." Keep your rules clear and specific.

    via About Kids Health
  • Give Them Their Own Garden Space 6 of 10
    Give Them Their Own Garden Space
    If you're a pro and you have things set up the way you like, give your kids their own section of the garden to do whatever they like. They can choose the plants, water them, weed them. While you're working on your section, they'll have their own area to nurture and be proud of.

    via About Kids Health
  • You Can Still Garden In Small Spaces 7 of 10
    You Can Still Garden In Small Spaces
    You don't have to have acres upon acres in your backyard to introduce kids to gardening. Window boxes work just fine, or maybe even get an herb garden in the kitchen.

    via About Kids Health
  • Stay Safe 8 of 10
    Stay Safe
    Gardening can involve some dangerous tools. Hoes, rakes, trimmers, and power tools can be involved. Take the time to teach your kids the rules of the yard, and help them have respect for dangerous situations and consequences.

    via About Kids Health
  • Accept Imperfection 9 of 10
    Accept Imperfection
    Even with all the rules, something will get stepped on, a stem will get broken, a plant will be picked too soon. It's great your kids are outside and trying, encourage that behavior - even if it doesn't measure up.

    via About Kids Health
  • Have Fun 10 of 10
    Have Fun
    Use the yard to explore your imagination. See if you can grow beanstalks to reach the sky, take wheelbarrow rides, try and make rainbows with the hose. We would always try to 'dig to China' when we were in the backyard with my dad. The less you make gardening a 'chore' and the more you freestyle it, the more fun your kids (and you) will have.

    via About Kids Health

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