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Gardening with Your Grandchildren

By: Elizabeth Grace - Updated: 21 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
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While grandchildren love to get material gifts from their grandparents' what all kids need most are the gifts of time and attention. Sharing hobbies and doing projects together is beneficial to kids in that they not only learn new skills, but also they develop bonds and build memories that they will take with them throughout their lives. While there are literally thousands of ways in which grandparents and grandchildren can spend time together, tending a garden may be one of the most pleasurable.

Hands On Fun and Learning

Kids learn best when they are actively involved in a hands on way, so gardening is an ideal choice. Children have a natural desire to be outdoors and often like getting their hands dirty, so cultivating a garden is a good way to teach kids about all that is necessary for flowers and vegetables to grow.

Children will enjoy the process the most if they are allowed to take charge of the project, rather than merely helping out. While they may need guidance and assistance, try to allow the kids to stay involved every step of the way, from readying the soil to harvesting the crop.

Getting Started

Deciding on what type of garden to grow is the first step, but it is a good idea to encourage kids to grow some vegetables whenever possible. There are several varieties that sprout quickly, such as cucumbers and radishes, which can help children to stay interested, and families have long known that when kids have a hand in growing vegetables, they are less likely to balk at the idea of eating them!

Grandparents can explain that plants need plenty of sunshine and then allow the children to choose a sunny spot to plant the garden. Together, kids and their grandparents can turn over the soil and enrich it with minerals as necessary. A trip to the garden store for seeds or seedlings can be fun for both generations as they choose varieties of plants that are well suited to the garden's location. Gardening tools and gloves are available in sizes designed for little hands, so it may be wise to purchase a few kid-sized specialty tools when you buy the plants.

Tending the Garden

Sharing the tasks necessary to keeping a beautiful garden gives grandparents and their grandchildren time to chat as they work side by side. Often children have some of their most meaningful conversations while busily engaged in activity, allowing grandparents the opportunity to learn a lot about the children's hopes and dreams. Sharing memories about the gardens that they have planted in the past, possibly even with their own grandparents, gives the younger generation an inside look at the lives of their grandparents as children and young adults. Conversations about nutrition and cooking make sense at this time, too, as you can plan meals together, built around the bounty of the family garden. This time spent sharing will stay with the grandchildren, as well as their grandparents, long after the delicious vegetables have been picked and eaten.

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