Have you ever had any of these problems with your preschooler?
- You want them to learn during the summer months
- You can't seem to get them to break away from the TV
- You can't find educational ways to help them play outside
- You're not sure how to help them care for the environment
- You can't find ways to creatively spend time with them
- They don't like fruits and vegetables
What if I told you that starting a garden with your preschooler is a great solution to all of these problems? It's true! Starting a garden will help your preschooler learn outside, away from the TV, in a way that helps them spend time with you developing an appreciation for the environment and possibly even help them like fruits and vegetables!
So where should you begin? Here are four simple steps to get your preschool garden off the ground.
1. Gather Your Starting Materials
I'd recommend you start small—perhaps even with just one plant. First, you'll need to decide whether or not you'll start from seeds or starter plants. If your child struggles waiting, it may be a good idea to start with some starter plants.
If you decide to start from seeds, find a sunny spot indoors and start growing your seedlings according to the package directions. Eventually, you'll transfer your plants to a sunny spot outside. I'd recommend starting with tomatoes or zucchinis, as they're fairly hearty and will grow quickly and produce a lot.
2. Stagger Your Plants
Staggering your planting is important for a couple different reasons. First, it means you'll hopefully have produce all summer. If you plant it all at once, you'll likely harvest it all at the same time, which means you'll have too much and then nothing at all for the remainder of the season.
Second, staggering your plants allows you to teach your preschooler in stages. If they do well, plant a few more the second planting. If they're struggling with the 4 tomato plants, go down to 2 the next time around.
3. Teach Garden Etiquette
Before your child starts helping in the garden, he'll need to have a basic understanding of garden etiquette. Show your preschooler where he can and cannot walk.
You may also want to establish some ground rules like "you can only go in the garden if an adult is with you" and "no one can eat from the garden without my permission."
4. Teach About Plant Growth
Ultimately, planting a garden with your preschooler is about learning. Take some time to explain what plants need to grow: sun, water, good soil, etc. You can also explain the basic structure of a plant: root, stem, leaf, flower, fruit, etc.