Gardening with Your Kids!

It’s spring in Denver and finally safe to put all of those starters and veggie and flower seeds in the soil. This is a wonderful opportunity for a fun, stress-free, joyful time with your kids. No matter their age, they can get involved.

“Messy play” provides much needed touch sensory input. As your child plays in the dirt, they can improve their ability to tolerate other textures, from the food they eat to the textures of their clothing. A picky eater can become more interested in the food they see in the refrigerator when they get to watch it grow from the ground and pick it fresh from the garden. If they are wary of getting their hands in the soil, you can provide them with some “heavy work” prior to working in the soil. Heavy work can be anything from carrying pots or bags of soil, to pushing a wheelbarrow, to even doing animal walks.

Watching a plant grow from a seed is very magical for children. In addition, if you plant some flowers that birds love you can entice more birds to your yard, which is such a benefit for you, your kids, and the birds!

You don’t need a lot of space, but you do need sun. If you have space outside, think of setting aside a small area just for your child. Containers are a great option if your space or sunlight are limited. If you use containers, you can increase the fun and your child’s ownership by letting them decorate their pots. Most of all, let them get dirty and don’t get worried about cleaning them up right afterward. Their immune system will thank you — the benefits of getting dirty are immense!

You might want to plant some vegetables or flowers that respond quickly, including sugar snap peas, lettuce, kale, and sunflowers. If you have room, pumpkins can be very rewarding to watch grow. There are some great ideas for gardening with children on Planet Natural.

Written By: Robin Hoffman OTR/L

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