March is here, which means trees blossoming, beautiful weather, and time to start planning and even start planting your garden. Gardening with your kids is one great way to get your kids to eat more fruits and vegetables. Research is continuously showing that when kids get involved with a garden, they are more likely to eat more produce and try different kinds too. Gardening is also an great educational opportunity to teach your kids about what plants need to grow and where their food comes from. It is a skill that they can continue to use throughout their life! Tips for getting your children involved and excited about gardening:
Give them a designated space to create their very own garden. For younger children or if space is limited, allow them to help select, plant, and grow at least one plant on their own.
Involve your kids! Let them be a part of planning process from the beginning. Ideas for doing this include: allowing them to cut out pictures from garden catalogue or explore nearby gardens.
Make your garden colorful! Michigan State University found that color was an important feature in attracting kids to the garden.
Grow some fun plants with fun names or have unusual appearances. For example: Snap dragon plant may appeal to kids due to its name; mint/dill/basil have strong smells; lamb’s ear has fuzzy silvery leaves that kids love to feel.
Continue to involve them throughout the gardening process. Make it a game with your kids to get them to help you pull weeds.
Lastly, not only would it be good to involve them in the harvesting of fruits and vegetables, but including them in the cooking process. This will help them understand the value of gardening. Additionally, it likely will lead to your picky eaters eating and be willing to try more fruits and vegetables.
For more tips on getting kids involved with gardening see the following websites: