Guest post from Leigha at Insteading.com:
You know how it goes. The days are longer and warmer, schools out for the summer, and inevitably your kids will start to say that they’re bored. While they could spend all summer in front of the TV, why not establish a kid-friendly backyard and garden for them to explore?
Not only does spending time outside help your kids explore their imagination and creativity, but gardening, in particular, is good for their (and your) mental and physical health. Read on to learn more about how you can establish a backyard and garden space that your kids will spend hours on end exploring. And maybe they’ll even stop saying they’re bored!
Plan Out Your Garden
Whether you’re adding just a few garden beds or are looking to start a huge backyard garden to feed your family, sketching out your garden beds will get your kids excited about gardening, and will teach them the importance of planning ahead.
Pull out a seed catalog, some paper, and some pencils and talk to your kids about what they want to grow in their own garden bed. This is a great opportunity to teach them about the different light and water conditions seeds have as well as how much space it takes to grow different plants.
Build A Garden Bed That’s All Theirs
One of the best ways to get your kids involved with gardening is to establish a garden bed that is all theirs. It will provide them with a sense of ownership over the whole process, from building the bed itself to planting seeds, watering the plants, and taking care of weeds. It will teach them the importance of taking care of their plants, and what can happen if they forget to water them. Start out with easy to grow, kid-friendly plants like carrots, potatoes, lettuce, or onions.
Invest In A Garden Shed
Not only does a garden shed help you declutter your space, but it helps to keep dangerous tools out of the reach of your little ones.
Garden sheds can be a gorgeous addition to your backyard, and with a bit of sweat, you can even build your very own from scratch.
Add A Dedicated Covered Space
When you look at your backyard or garden, is there a space that’s dedicated specifically to your kids? If not, consider adding a pergola to create a covered, all-weather space for your kids to play! And when your kids grow up, you can turn that space into a backyard hangout spot with a fire pit and a bunch of comfy chairs.
Replace Gravel With Grass or Pea Gravel
We all have that memory of being a kid and tiptoeing through a path of gravel, hoping to avoid stubbing our feet on those sharp rocks.
Inevitably, we always did, but that doesn’t mean your kids have to! Consider replacing that gravel path with grass, soft groundcovers, or pea gravel.
Build A Tree House
If you were lucky enough to have a treehouse as a kid, you remember just how much fun it was to spend hours on end outside, daydreaming about being a prince or a princess, or maybe Indiana Jones? Treehouses are a great way to facilitate your kid’s imagination and get them to spend a little more time outside and a little less time staring at a tablet!
Though your grandpa probably built you a treehouse all by himself without the use of blueprints or plans, nowadays you can find a wide variety of treehouse plans online to make the process more efficient.
Mark Your Plants
Not only does marking your plants help you remember where everything is, but it provides you with a teaching opportunity for your kids.
It gives them the chance to see what plants look like as they grow, and how tiny sprouts can grow into foods they eat all the time like carrots, beets, and lettuce!
Invest In A Kids Only Potting Bench
Along with giving your kids a garden bed that is all theirs, consider adding a potting bench, too! Provide them with their own kid-friendly tools, seeds, soil, and watering can so they feel like their in charge of their own garden. This also provides them with a place to store away their supplies in a kid-safe area that isn’t next to sharp tools or potentially hazardous chemicals or pesticides.
How will you get started with gardening this spring? Let us know in the comments below!
Bio: Leigha Staffenhagen is the managing editor of Insteading.com, a homesteading and sustainability site focusing on everything from gardening and raising chickens to tiny homes and off-grid living.