There is no coincidence that the term kindergarten translates as a children's garden. Children can learn many things through the garden which can help them to grow into children ready for the rigours of formal schooling. Children and carers both enjoy spending time in the garden and can get some great benefits. Here are some tips on gardening with your kindergartener.
Be explicit in your instructions
It can seem obvious when you ask your child to plant the seedlings two hands apart, or to remove any of the weeds between the plants. However they might need supervision or regular reminding as young children often have low attention spans. It can often help to give them a tool to measure distances between plantings, such as planting each seed one shovel length apart from the next.
Integrate learning naturally into your gardening
It can be tempting to try and turn the gardening into a 'learning experience' but it's just as meaningful to have natural conversations with your kids as you notice how many seeds you are planting, the relative size of the new seedings and how many flowers or fruits you can see on each plant. Gardening naturally introduces many concepts such as math, physics and biology in a way that is easy for kids to understand.
Mix of flowers and edible plants
If you are looking to involve your child in gardening it can be great to give them a little corner of the yard where they can grow their own plants. This can encourage their responsibility and ownership of the gardening. Encourage them to grow a combination of some of the fruit and vegetables that they love, alongside some quick and easy to grow flowers such as sunflowers or simple violets. These can give them some visible growth and progress when they head out to check on their plants each.
Buy some smaller, child-size garden tools
Normal sized watering cans and shovels can be hard to manipulate for little hands. You can often find smaller watering cans and garden tools in nurseries to give to your younger children. This can help your kids to feel more commitment and involvement with the gardening.
Gardening can be a great way to spend quality time with the children that you care for, in a way that both you and the child can enjoy. Many educational concepts are naturally integrated into the gardening environment including counting and observing natural growing cycles.