We asked visitors to our garden message boards to share their secrets for getting kids interested in gardening. Here are some of their best ideas.
Gardening exercises a child's mind, heart, and body. In our message boards, we posed the question: What do you do to encourage your children to stop watching TV and start enjoying the garden? The outpouring of ideas speaks volumes about how passionate they are about passing along their love of gardening to the next generation.
Want kids to spend more time outside? Consider adding a playhouse; we've got inspiring ideas for you.
"My son has been gardening with me since he was a toddler. I started him out with some strawberries on the deck, and every morning he would want to go out pick some. At that age he didn't understand that he had to wait until they were red, so he would just pick whatever he saw. I would have to sneak out and place some nice juicy red ones from the store in the planters for him to 'harvest.'" -- Chris in Oregon
"I try to point out bad and good and just pretty bugs and butterflies. It's like science every day in the garden" -- Shelly in Kansas
"My son, who is 9, has been making his own flower bed for about two years. I take him to the outdoor market for annuals and he has to read the tags for sun/shade; also he can pick out his own plants. I try to keep him with a color theme. The only thing we can't agree on is his haphazard way of arranging plants in his garden. Oh well, I'm just glad he likes flowers." -- Anonymous
"A 25-cent finder's fee for each bucket of weeds was increased to $1 last year for the 11-year-old. Seemed to help keep my son more interested." -- Anonymous
"When I added paths to my garden, one son wanted a path in his square. So I bought him a bag of mulch and he made a haphazard path." -- Anonymous
"This year my kids will be helping me do some winter sowing. They'll also get to each plant their own 'Velvet Queen' sunflower. The other day I bought the seeds and then asked them 'What colour are sunflowers?' 'Yellow,' they shouted back excitedly. THEN I showed them the picture of the maroon-coloured sunflower and they were floored. 'WOW, when can we plant them?'" -- Anonymous in Alberta
"On September 11, 2001, when we heard the bad news that shocked the world we set out for Lowe's to get a tree. That very day my daughter and I planted a dogwood tree beside her playground. We made a border of rock and mulched it together with her little hands (she was 3 at this time). I believe that got her started. The few days following that she wanted to put flowers around her tree so off we went to get her flowers. She picked out pansies (and a few was all we could find in the county) and that is what she gets to this very day to go around that tree." -- Stephie 37