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Planting Flowers With Kids

Posted by Patience on May 26, 2009 at 4:00 AM in Connecting with kidsNature
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gardening joy5

I sort of have a black thumb, there might be one tiny shade of dark green but barely. It seems every plant I touch dies. I water too much or not enough, maybe it is just there are too many humans to take care of and other living things get the shaft. The funny part is, I love anything that is in the process of growing. My kids have been asking for quite some time if we could have a garden but since getting the lawn cut is a major challenge, we decided to start small.

I surprised them this weekend with gardening tools and eight hearty petunias.
They decided on the pattern and plan in which they would plant. Let's just say I've grown as a parent because it wasn't even, nor did the patterns match.
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Jack went right to digging.
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Lyra watched and ate dirt.
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Josiah added decorations. Not sure why but these little umbrellas are VERY popular right now. I bought a bag on a whim and they have been the source of all kinds of creativity.
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We ended the day with trying to get the ever impossible shot of every one looking into the camera. For our memories:
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Lessons learned so far:

1. Let the kids pick. Kid decisions always invite investment in all forms.
From hauling those plants to the car all the way to clean up, every one will have more interest in the project.

2. Take advantage of teachable moments. (or not) There are about a gazillion science and life lessons associated with growing anything. You can use these opportunities to educate. If you are prone to squeezing lessons out of anything all the time, skip it and just get your hands dirty together and have fun.

3. Have a sprinkler party. This is the perfect time to end with something silly. Keep your regular clothes on and play in the sprinkler with your kids. I promise they will remember it forever.

Have you done any planting with your kids yet? Tell us your gardening tips for kids in the comments. Look for more gardening goodness on Friday when my kids and I set out to explore other families' gardens around town.

Check out our own PBS gardening expert Jamie Durie and all his great advice for gardening together. A very cute expert, I might add. Don't you think?


Amber writes...

I have done planting with my 4-year-old. Very sadly something has eaten most of the baby plants, though. I will have no lettuce.

Anyways, I am not quite as evolved as you. I was in there yelling and doing most of the work myself. I am working to just let go, reminding myself this doesn't have to be perfect, and it's mostly for the kiddo anyway. I'll get there someday, I hope.

PatienceAuthor Profile Page writes...

omg Amber, let me tell you about the time we made the Halloween costumes together- huge disaster, major creative differences is all I'll say. I will admit it was VERY hard for me to watch watch 2 different patterns go on either side of the door...I know, why do these things drive me nuts?

Sarah writes...

Ruby and I planted together yesterday afternoon. She is still young enough that she didn't notice when I would dig up and replant the occasional flower that was in too much shade or too much sun. We had a blast.

Jess writes...

We have a brood of budding gardeners here and planted the third or fourth veggie garden of my parenting career this spring. I'm pretty sure my oldest has been digging weeds since he was a toddler, and he started using pruning shears (aack!) not too long after that.

I was SO tickled this year when the baby wanted to drop peas into the trench I had made! A gardener is born! I even left the one rogue pea that he planted away from the rest of the line and it makes me smile when I see it now. My middle son is also starting to take an interest, especially when the shears are involved.

Amber, we had horrible problems with rabbits eating bean shoots and lettuces one year. Darn bunnies!

Gina writes...

This post is a good reminder that I need to make gardening a family experience and not just "my" hobby. Jason just reclaimed a bed from some overgrown ivy and I think it's begging to be planted by Yates.

Amy writes...

we are regular gardeners around here, flowers, veggies, this that and the other. sometimes the garden tanks, other times it's stunning. I remind myself that like hair, perennials at least will grow again another year, if say, the dog tramples them to death. as for the vegetables, my kids beam when something they've planted produces edible fruit and they can't wait to put it on the table. they all rush out together to collect the goods from the garden and have such an adventure each time, nearly every day. I love it that it never gets old. letting loose and letting them be with nature seems to produce the biggest rewards around here.

here's the best story from this year so far: a while back (I have no idea how long ago) Allie planted a seed, don't know what kind, don't know where she got it because she's always planting mystery seeds, sometimes they're real, sometimes not. anyway, the thing grew in the hardest of the clay soil we have, in the middle of the yard right next to the sidewalk. so we transplanted it in the real garden and are calling it her "mystery plant". looks an awful like pumpkin if you ask me! think she could have planted it last October?

the real world education that provides is invaluable, to them and me both! good luck, petunias are super easy--at least now you have helpers!

kelly writes...

eventhough it takes about 18 gajillion times longer, the kids are so proud at the end of it. caleb proudly calls the garden we planted together "MY garden"...

kristen writes...

I love getting my hands in the dirt, and the kids - well they love to dig, water and then pull out what I have attempted to do. I will work on evolving.....

christa writes...

Gardening is like taking care of a pet. You are able to see what your care does to help it grow and thrive....and kids learn so much from taking care of plants. (and animals). Roman and I have been studying the water cycle. We planted a terrarium in a large plastic container with a lid. We put ferns in the container with dirt and have been able to watch condensation, evaporation and even a little precipitation - the leaves of the fern are always wet.
I'll enjoy following along to see which gardens are next and how your garden grows!

Kristen writes...

I LOVE the cocktail umbrellas. They make the whole garden. Isn't he festive?

MaryAnne writes...

I to love to watch things grow! The whole family this year is involved in our veggie garden. My husband built the fence, Samantha (6) spread some sand, Lucas (4) has helped me tote countless pounds of manure and compost and spread it. I let the kids each pick something to grow. Sama chose carrots and Luc picked hot peppers. This garden is a balance of all of us. We let Samantha design and build her own garden (the fairy garden) last year from mainly transplants and something she picked from a catalog. Luc's turn is next year. He is going to have a tractor garden. What will it be? I have no idea. I try my best to let him decide. He mainly thinks in terms of mud. It is amazing how not only are we growing in terms of plants but also in terms of letting go of weeds or our children. Start small and let it grow.

Erica writes...

My parents used to drag us into gardening, and I'd protest at the beginning. But then once we were all there together, cracking jokes, planning out the garden or even just weeding, I was glad to be there. My preschool daughters picked out some flower seed packets and we'll be planting them together. And just a few weeks ago, the girls planted a whole bunch of beans and were so thrilled at the different phases of their seedlings. I was even more thrilled at their excitement. Good times, good times.

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