Why You Should Build A Small Garden With Your Kids This Summer
Looking for a fun and UNIQUE thing to do with your kids this summer?
Go ahead and get your summer bucket list out, because you’ll want to add starting a small garden with your kids to it.
Not only will you be able to enjoy the “fruits of your labor,” but use this as a beautiful opportunity to teach your kids more about God and how He plants seeds that grow in us as well.
Check out these wonderful reasons why you should start a small garden with your kids, as well as practical tips on how to get started! 🙂
Why You Should Start A Small Garden with Your Kids
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Gardening is such a great hobby for anyone to pick up, but when you bring your kids into it, it will turn into a fun family event that will last all summer long!
Kids love to play outside and want to discover the world around them. Teaching kids how to grow and nurture a garden will help them not only have fun outside but also teaches them responsibility, learn more about God, and even eat healthier!
Did I mention it is fun? I mean, really fun!
We are going on year 4 (house #2) of growing a garden and it has been one of the biggest blessings not only in my husband and I’s life but in our daughter too.
There are so many great benefits to starting a small garden with your kids, and I want to share those with you, as well as HOW to even get started.
Now is the perfect time! 🙂
Here are some reasons WHY you should even start a garden with your kids…
1. Use Gardening To Teach Your Kids About God
First and most importantly, gardening is a wonderful way to teach your kids about God.
Think about it the symbolism of growing something…
When a seed is planted, watered, and nurtured, does it die or produce something good to eat? It grows and blossoms and blooms!!
Just like God brings us to life when we accept Him as Lord over our lives, and as we study His Word we continue to let Him grow us.
As we pull weeds out of our garden so they don’t get “choked”, God rids us of the “weeds” in our hearts too so we can grow. It’s such a beautiful and VISUAL picture for kids to grasp and really help plant biblical truths in their hearts.
Just like how God wants us to produce good fruit, and grow in the fruit of the Spirit.
Here’s a little about what the Bible says about planting seeds…
“He told them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds come and perch in its branches.”” Matthew 13:31-32 NIV
You can also read through these summer Bible verses when caring for your garden! Plus, make sure to pray over your garden, acknowledging that God is the one who brings the growth!!
Grab the free summer Bible verse checklist and check off one each day after you have watered your garden. Make it a part of your morning basket routine this summer!
2. Teach Your Kids About Nature
Learning about nature is so beneficial for adults and kids. After showing your kids how our relationship with God is like a garden, continue to use nature to teach them about all the wonderful things God created.
After watering your garden each day, stay outside and do a fun nature scavenger hunt! We like this one here, or you can grab this one for free from Arrows & Applesauce when you sign up for her emails.
Plus, gardening can also count towards your homeschooling hours and learning! Win-win.
3. Growing Your Own Food Saves Money
On a more practical level, you can save lots of money on groceries during the summer and fall by growing your own food. Not only is it healthier, but way cheaper in the long run!
It may be a bigger investment upfront when buying the supplies and things you’ll need, but will definitely pay itself off really soon.
Here are 25 other easy ways you can save money just by doing normal, day-to-day things!
4. Teaches Kids Responsibility
“Mommy, we need to go water the garden and check for veggies!”
My sweet 4-year old (at the time) said to me bright and early one summer morning.
After seeing our garden the year before, she knew what was going to come from it, and truly enjoyed the process. She helped build it and learned that we had to water it and care for it each day.
Gardening is a great way to teach your kids responsibility, and as they get older you can add it to their daily chores list.
5. Give To Neighbors & Friends
When we began our garden in the house we live in now, it grew WAY bigger than we ever thought. We had zucchini and tomatoes growing or our ears!
A really cool benefit to starting a garden with your kids is the ability to be able to give to others! It’s a beautiful picture of what we, the church body, should look like just like in Acts 2.
“All the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they shared with anyone who was in need.
With one accord they continued to meet daily in the temple courts and to break bread from house to house, sharing their meals with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2:44-47 NIV
It’s a great act of kindness to teach your kids and add to your schedule this summer!
Tips For How To Start A Small Garden With Kids
Now that you see the many, many benefits of starting a small garden with your kids, here are the practical tips you need in choosing what to plant, what type of garden to build,m and what supplies you’ll need!
Plus, some fun books to read with your kids about gardening that we have really enjoyed. 🙂
Different Types of Gardens
There are so many different types of gardens you can grow. Here are just a few ideas to get you started!
- Herb garden – basil, parsley, cilantro, etc.
- Vegetable garden
- Indoor garden
- Raised bed – this is what we do, here’s a great tutorial for building your own!
- Potted – we do some plants in pots for now, until we can save up to expand our raised bed garden. 🙂
There are tons of different types, whether you have little to no land or a lot. And for any garden, no matter what kind, you will need the following:
- Topsoil (we get ours at Lowe’s), miracle gro potting mix or some sort of fertilizer, plants/seeds, and water crystals (these are great for holding in water).
Keep reading for fun gardening accessories for kids!
What Should You Grow In A Small Garden For Kids?
First, let your child help you pick out what they want to grow. It’ll help get them more excited about starting a garden, and even eating their veggies!
Let your children help pick out the foods you will be growing in their little part of your garden. 🙂
Or, you can even attempt gardening with flowers! It doesn’t have to be food or herbs. There are many benefits to planting flowers.
An easier starter flower plant is sunflowers – they will help bring bees and birds to your garden. These pollinators are an important part of the gardening process!
There are some cons to planting sunflowers but you can decide if they are worth it in your garden. 😉
We don’t do a ton of flowers personally, but my mom does and so we help her with hers and they look beautiful!
Pole beans, snap peas, and strawberries are also great starters for children as they grow heartily and quickly. When you harvest them, they will grow more beans, allowing you to have a supply throughout the growing season!
Carrots, zucchini, and cucumbers are great starters because they grow quickly and can endure some “rough handling” from tiny hands.
Tomatoes and peppers are great ones, but definitely need some adult help if putting cages around the plant – the metal ends can be sharp, and they need cages to grow upwards.
Helping Kids Start From Seeds & Buying Seedlings
If you are starting from seeds, teaching kids how to plant, water, and germinate the seeds is an important first step!
They get to watch as the first seedlings appear and this will get them wondering how that happened and what comes next. It’s so fun!
You can easily start with seedling starters from any big box store now but you can also create your own DIY starter kits. This is a great project for spring break right before the planting season starts!!
Buying seedlings from your local farmer’s market or nursery is another affordable way to start your kiddos’ first gardening experience!
When you are helping your little one pick out seedlings, look to make sure they are hearty and not flowering to ensure you get the most from your plants.
This is actually our first year trying from seeds – we have a local plant place (family-owned) that sells planted already potted.
They can be a tad more expensive but it saves us time since we plant so much!! And we can start them in late April/early May instead of Feb/March.
This leads to my next point…
When Do You Start Your Kids Gardening?
While it depends on the gardening zone you live in, most will begin garden preparations in February if you are going to start with seeds!
Let your children pick what they want to grow and get the seeds started indoors. This is a great way to teach kids about the germination process and how growing seeds work.
Starting from seeds lets you and your child follow the entire plant lifecycle from seed to sprout to flower and finally the fruit!
We usually start plants the last weekend of April or Mother’s Day weekend in May to make sure we aren’t going to have any frosts come up.
If it does, cover your plants with a sheet to help keep them from freezing, if you’ve already planted!!
While kids of all ages are welcome to help with gardening, there are some basic skills that are important to have (or learn) before digging in. Preschool/Kindergarten is a great age to get kids started and interested in gardening!
We started when my daughter was about 3, and it’s definitely toddler friendly too (hello, playing in the dirt, right??).
But at that preschool ish age, they can retain more information and actually learn the basics of gardening. They also have the motor skills to handle seedlings without demolishing them. 🙂
If you start with infants or toddlers, they can definitely learn along the way with big brothers ad sisters. Make it a whole family thing!!
Allow your kids to help with pulling weeds and adding mulch to the soil also. As kids, most of us loved getting our hands dirty – our kids are no different!
Books About Gardening For Kids
Here are some helpful books about gardening that we have enjoyed!
It’s a great way to be able to read to your kids or encourage them in reading, and also get them excited about creating your very own home garden.
1. Easy Peasy: Gardening for Kids
We love this book! It’s a beautifully illustrated intro to gardening for kids. It goes through different types of gardening no matter where you live, and the basic process!
It also includes lots of fun projects with instructions to do with your kids such as:
- Making your own pots
- Building balcony boxes
- Creating your own bird feeders (so cool!!)
Each activity has been carefully chosen to create living, renewable and sustainable environments for kids and their families!
Even if you don’t want to start a garden with your kids, you can still add some of these activities to your bucket list this summer!
Plus it’s still great to teach them about growing things and relating that back to our faith, and for science homeschool lessons!
When I saw this book, I was already pretty much sold – but add in the name, red-headed girl on the cover, and that it was a Christian author and I was quadruple-y sold!!!
It’s not necessarily a “how to” garden book, but a great story about celebrating that God grows good things little by little. It will definitely encourage you and your kids!
3. Raised Bed Gardening: A Beginners Guide
I haven’t read this one but the reviews for it are great, and it walks you through how to create a raised garden bed for beginners! A great place to start.
4. The Sower
This is a beautiful story, not just in its illustration but by introducing some fantastic biblical imagery to kids, and God’s plan for His creation.
It begins from creation to the final restoration, and paints the picture of God as the gardener – sowing seeds, planting, and bringing life to dead things!
It’s so beautiful and a great resource to have whether you have a garden or not, and is perfect for ages 5-10.
Here are some other great accounts you can follow for more gardening tips:
Gardening Supplies For Kids
Part of building a garden has to be the fun and cute gardening supplies for kids. Really go all out (within reason)n and make it a fun experience for them!
Let them help pick out what tools and things they want to use and get them excited about it.
Building A Small Garden With Your Kids
I hope this encourages and plants a seed (yes, pun intended) in your mind to start a small garden with your kids, and how to begin!
It’s so amazing to be able to see the fruits of your labor, and kids will love it as well. They can feel proud that they were able to start something and help it grow, just like God does in us.
This is a great time to bond and connect with your children while teaching them a life skill they may possibly keep with them forever. 🙂
Your children will cherish the moments you spend together in the garden, even after they’re grown and have kids of their own!
Do you currently have a small garden? If not, what kind do you want to start? Let me know below!