{health} Building a Children's Garden

Summer really was the best time of the year at my house. There was always something going on and always people over. Some of my fondest memories were swimming in our pool with friends or watching my Dad plant a garden.  I loved fresh tomatoes pulled right from the vine. I can still taste the way my Mom’s tomato sandwiches tasted with tomatoes from our own garden.

That was why I wanted to plant a garden in our backyard. My son loved to help me water the plants.  Planting a garden together with your children is a great way to instill the value of hard work, while spending quality time together and sharing the goodness of fresh vegetables.

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Why plant a children’s garden you might ask?

  • Well for starters it helps to instill good values, that with hard work and effort you get rewarded with awesome tasting fruits and vegetables that are healthy for you.
  • Having the garden to care for through the summer, gives them time to be outdoors instead of spending time in front of the computer or watching TV.
  • Planting a garden may also be very therapeutic for some special needs children.  I know my son doesn’t particularly like to get dirty, but he does like to help with some of the chores like watering.
  • Giving them some responsibility is a great thing for them to learn life skills.
  • You can also create a schedule that can help them stick with a routine over the summer.

Here is a great book that may be helpful in teaching your child gardening as a way to combat anxiety and build social skills.

 

Designing The Garden

When it comes to the actual design of a children’s garden the easiest way to do it is with a bordered bed. If you’re handy with tools you can put together a frame for a border out of wood or even just use decorative stones (purchased or simply searched for!) to outline the edge of your garden.

From there you can go out and pick up the proper soil, gardening tools  (unless you already have some), and pick out the plant seeds that you want to grow and bring them home to be put together. Make sure that your child gets to be a decision maker in every step of the process from the design and shape of the garden to the fruits and veggies you’ll be growing because hey, it’s their garden too!

As the adult though, make sure that your soil and climate are good for the seeds you pick, it would be a shame to go through all the hard work of planting and maintaining the garden only to have the plants wither or die because of outside circumstances.

After building and setting up the garden bed, you can finally get to planting! Plant the seedlings however you want, from neat little rows with seed packages for signs or go crazy and plant them however you want!

Feel free to go out of your way to decorate the garden with your child as well. You can paint the wood or stone border however you want, put up garden decorations, or even build a silly scarecrow to keep the birds away.  Since it’s going to be their garden, let them pick what they want in it and let them help build it (even if you’re the one who actually does the building handiwork).

When all is said and done you’ll have a beautiful garden bed that you put together as a family. You can also use this as an opportunity to help them follow a schedule to care for it, like watering, picking etc. In the end, you’ll all be able to enjoy a tasty harvest that you can serve up for lunch and dinner or simply eat fresh from the vine, something that everyone is sure to love!

Do you plant a garden?  What fruits and vegetables do your children like?

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