Gardening is a fun activity to do with kids, as it allows them to get their hands in the dirt, take care of something living and get excited about seeing their plants grow and flower. You can even use gardening as an opportunity to work on early maths and language arts skills, such as by measuring the distance between rows, calculating how many plants you'll need to fill an area and reading plant care instructions.
Gardening is an ideal way to bond with your kids outside in the fresh air, but the last thing you'd want to happen is for their plants to die and discourage them from trying to grow anything again. So, set your kids up for success by selecting plants that are easy to grow that can cope with rough handling and produce beautiful, colourful flowers. Here are three plants that are ideal for introducing kids to gardening:
With some of varieties of sunflowers growing to over 2 metres tall, kids will have fun trying to guess how tall theirs will grow and whose plant will end up tallest. Sunflowers turn toward the sun, so they are quite an interesting plant for kids to observe, and when the flower head starts to wither, the kids can collect the seeds to save for the next growing season, feed them to the birds or roast them and eat them.
Nasturtiums are quick to flower and the flowers are edible. Kids will get excited at the prospect of picking these brightly coloured flowers to snack on, and you can make a nice salad with the nasturtium flowers and other seasonal produce. These plants will flower several times throughout the growing season and are very hardy, so even toddlers can grow them.
Sweet pea plants spread very quickly, so you only need one or two plants to fill a square metre flowerbed. They can be left to grow along the ground, be pinned against trellises or be grown across a natural willow wigwam frame to create a living den for the kids to play in. Sweet peas attract bees to the garden, so they can help facilitate conversations with your children about the importance of pollinators. They also smell amazing, with notes of lily of the valley, rose, floral apple and gardenia.
These are just a few examples of plants that are ideal for kids to grow and can encourage kids to develop a love of gardening. When you go plant shopping, keep in mind that some garden plants are poisonous and may not be ideal if you have young children who may try to eat their plants. Your local plant nursery can recommend other safe plants that are easy for children to grow.