Introducing Your Child To Gardening
Want to start gardening with your little learner? Take a look at our top tips on how to encourage your little learner's green thumb.
Gardening is a relaxing and therapeutic activity and encouraging your little learner’s green thumb at any age is highly recommended! At Genius early learning childcare centre, our Garden Gurus program is one of 7 life skills we offer to our children, intended to help them form a strong foundation for a lifetime of learning.
Our gardening program supports children to connect with nature and respect the environment. It also teaches them about sustainable practices and where food comes from. When our children harvest produce from our gardens they give them to our in-house chefs, who then in turn uses them when preparing the children’s meals.
Planting also offers an opportunity to learn the life cycle of plants as well as responsibility, caretaking, independence, and environmental awareness. Encouraging a green thumb is easy to do at home and forms strong bonds within the family when you work together. Take a look at our top tips on how to encourage your little learner’s green thumb below!
Plant Your Own Vegetable Plot
Planting your family vegetable plot is a great way to encourage your child's green thumb and get them excited about being outside in nature. Pick the perfect location bathed in sunshine, and you are ready to begin. You could ask your child to draw a plan of what they would like the vegetable patch to look like. It may not be a regular rectangular shape - so don’t feel constrained by tradition! You don't have to have a lot of space to grow veggies either; you could grow them in pots on a balcony or in a courtyard, or grow herbs in jars - the opportunities are endless! Your local nursery will be able to advise you as to what vegetables and herbs to plant at that time of year and give you some tips about watering and feeding your vegetables. Then the fun begins! You can get the vegetable patch ready by digging the holes, teasing the seedlings and gently planting them into the patch. Watering the vegetables is essential to ensure that the seedlings establish themselves, and a soft watering of a good seaweed solution will give you a bumper crop in no time.
Create Your Own Fairy or Pirate Garden
Children love being creative and using their imagination to conjure up fairy stories or a ship filled with pirates. This activity lets your little learner take the lead on how they will decorate their garden – whatever the theme. Allow your child to find the perfect space for this creation. You could plant flowers directly into garden beds or plant various pots with your favourite blooms. Your local nursery can advise which plants work well in your area at that time of year, or you may choose to get cuttings from friends or family (succulents are great for this!). If you are using pots, your little learner might like to paint and decorate them with their chosen theme. Once your flowering plants are planted, watered and fertilised, you can get to decorating! Let your child select some items to decorate their garden with. These could be little toys and ornaments around the house, or you could make crafts to add the perfect touch to your own patch of fun! Change up the setting in the garden often, to keep the ‘fairies’ happy!
Now you have the perfect garden, it's time to create some compost to feed your plants. You can have a compost heap in the corner of the yard or use a bin or large plastic container. Remove the bottom of the container so worms can get into your compost heap and help create lovely rich compost. To help children become accustomed to composting, you could print out a picture of everything that can be put in. This can be attached to the small container in your kitchen where you put your compost scraps. Once the container is full, the compost scraps can be put into the compost bin, much the same as putting items into a recycle bin. This activity educates the family on how to separate their food scraps for the compost and worm farms, and once the food breaks down, they put the rich compost and worm juice onto their vegetable plot and start the cycle again. Giving children hands-on examples of recycling and food management is a fantastic way to learn! Many of our centres have their own compost heap or worm farm, to start this education at home.
The most exciting time for a green thumb is harvest time. Once your vegetables are ready to pick, discuss with your child how you can tell things are ready for harvest and ask them what they think would be great to make with the spoils. Your little learner could look through some cookbooks and see delicious recipes they might like! At Genius, when children grow their own vegetables and then assist in creating a meal with what they have grown, they learn to love meal-time and are more open to trying new things.
Our gardening program Garden Gurus promotes awareness of the environment through 'green housekeeping practices' such as healthy eating, minimising waste, recycling/reducing water and energy consumption. It has been designed to assist children in developing an understanding and respect for the environment and encourage critical thinking. We wholeheartedly believe gardening can be a great activity to cultivate a meaningful and fun learning experience, both at Genius and at home.
This season, we hope you will get out in the backyard with your little learner, grow their green thumb, and have fun creating your own green space together outside!