Children and gardening go hand-in-hand in a way. Children love to play in the dirt and love to mimic what their parents do. Combining the two can give your child hours of fun. They can have fun playing in the dirt and learning about gardening from a young age. Whether or not you are a gardener, you can still enjoy a few gardening projects with your children. You never know, you may find that gardening is a relaxing hobby and want to continue to get your hands in the dirt. If you aren't sure where to start, here are a couple simple gardening projects that are easy, educational and fun for you and your child.
* Grow a Salad Garden
Vegetables may not be your child's favorite thing to eat, but a great way to help change that may be to involve him or her in growing their own. Your child may be more receptive to eating more vegetables if they helped plant the seeds, watched the vegetables grow in their own garden and helped pick them. Even with a small yard you should be able to find enough space for a couple of plants, like tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers or zucchini. These vegetables can be successfully, and easily, grown in containers in a sunny spot on your porch, patio or balcony.
Start with a few plants to keep your child enthused. A large garden might be too involved for a young child. A few small vegetable plants like cherry tomatoes or a variety of lettuce can be fun for children to grow and to eat. If you want to involve your child from the beginning and add an educational touch, try planting seeds. Your child may be more eager to tend the garden if he or she was involved in planting the seeds, watering them and watching them grow. You can also purchase a variety of plants from your local garden center. Once the vegetables are ready for harvest you child can help you prepare a salad with the fresh grown produce. Try taking a few photos of planting day, growing season, harvest day and your family enjoying their homegrown salad and display those photos in a brightly colored collage picture frame.
* Experiment With Seed Sprouting
It can be fun for the entire family to experiment with seed sprouting. This is an activity that can be done when it is too cold to be outside working in the garden. All that is required are a few packets of seeds, like squash, cucumbers or beans, and a few paper towels dampened with water. Your child will probably be touching the seeds, so be sure the seeds are not treated with chemicals or pesticides.
Place the damp paper towels on a counter top or table and place some seeds on the paper towels. Now, fold the paper towels around the seeds and place in a warm location. You will need to sprinkle regularly with water to keep the paper towels damp so the seeds don't dry out. It may help to cover the paper towels with a plastic bag, but allow some air to get into the bag so the seeds don't rot with too much moisture. Be sure to capture the seeds sprouting by taking pictures at various stages. You child may have fun placing each picture into a small picture frame as a reminder of the fun seed sprouting experiment.
If you would like to sprout bean seeds for salads, you can purchase mung beans, alfalfa and other sprouting seeds. To sprout these seeds, you will need a glass canning jar. Place the seeds in the jar, rinse with water and drain. You will need to repeat rinsing and draining each day until the seeds start to sprout. You now have a tasty topping for your salad.
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