Gardening with Toddlers

Are you ready to get your garden started?  This is an awesome guest post by Zoe Williams on how to get your little one involved!  Be sure to head over to her blog today also.

If you’re green fingered (or maybe even if you’re not) you’ll be keen to introduce your little one to gardening from an early age. It’s fun activity for toddlers because it is active and takes place outdoors, and it also involves getting messy! There are lots of learning opportunities too, and taking care of plants can help children to develop their nurturing side.
Be prepared:
Getting kid sized tools will help your toddler get involved with gardening activities. You also need to think about where you are going to grow your plants. Raised beds or containers are more accessible for young children and will save them having to walk across the flower bed or vegetable patch. You’ll also need to decide what you want to grow and get some seeds and compost. Make sure you read the seed packets to check when to start planting. If you’re super organised and planning ahead you could also plant some spring bulbs to give an early burst of colour to your garden and get your toddler excited about growing plants.
What to grow:
Fruit and vegetables are popular choices to grow with a toddler because they will get something tasty to eat as a reward for all their hard work! It’s also good for them to begin to learn where food comes from and that it doesn’t just appear on the supermarket shelf. It’s a good idea to grow something that your little one likes to eat, or something that you want to encourage them to eat. Some easy to grow options include tomatoes, strawberries, peas or beans, potatoes and lettuce. You could also try some flowers or herbs such as sunflowers, mint or basil. These plants are ideal because they are fast growing and low maintenance. These plants can be planted straight into the ground (or containers) without needing to transplant seedlings, and are not fussy about soil or climate. This year I’m growing potatoes and sunflowers with my 1 year old daughter, and we also have rhubarb, strawberry and herb plants established in our garden, as well as an apple tree.
Other activities:
Even the youngest toddlers can get involved in the garden. You can start by taking them on a tour of the garden and talk about all the flowers and plants, different colours and smells, shapes and sizes, and talk about how the plants grow and change over time. One of my little girl’s favourite activities is simply to water the plants – set her up with a large bowl of water and a jug or watering can and this will keep her entertained for a good half an hour! She has also enjoyed digging compost with a trowel while I was planting some potatoes alongside her – you might like to leave a small patch of ground unplanted, or fill a container with compost for this purpose. She is also fascinated by all the creepy crawlies in the garden and blows kisses to all the worms wriggling in the mud and any bees that fly past too!
I hope this post has encouraged you to try some gardening activities with your toddler. Don’t be afraid to get a bit messy, and enjoy!

This is a guest post by Zoe Williams, a full time mum of one and a keen gardener. She blogs about her life as a stay at home mum at mummykins.co.uk, and sometimes writes for Yahoo Family & Parenting too. You can also catch up with her on Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook.

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