Helping your toddler get involved in the garden

Baby isn’t the only one around your home who’s growing like a weed! If you’re a gardener, a seed of curiosity about what goes on in the yard has probably already been planted for Baby, since your mysterious interests are some of his favorite subjects. Gardening together is a fun way to connect, and to help him begin to understand where all that yummy food on his plate comes from  – or, well, some of it.

If you’re interested in helping your little gardener sprout a new interest, strategies to try include:

  • Play favorites: Before you get started in the garden, let Baby come to the store with you and pick out certain plants or foods you could grow that he especially likes. This will help him feel involved from the very beginning, and give him an idea of what to look forward to from the very beginning of the growing process.
  • Start indoors: Let Baby help in the early stages by having him water the little seedlings inside. Once he gets the hang of it, he will be a pro by the time it’s time to switch to outdoor work.
  • Get planting: Once it’s time to transfer the seeds, ask Baby where in the garden he thinks they should be placed. He will appreciate having some input and will be excited his opinion is being considered.
  • Choose kid-sized tools: Get Baby a set of his own gardening tools to help out alongside you. Small shovels and rakes will keep him busy while you get down to business.
  • Watering fun: Toddlers love water on a hot day, so let him take over watering duty with his own watering can. he may enjoy watering the garden, or just filling and dumping the can. Either way, it’s all in good fun.
  • Plant something exciting: For little ones, bigger is usually better. Watching the garden grow as a toddler can be a bit like watching paint dry as an adult. Fix the problem by planting something big and bright, like a sunflower, that will keep his interest.
  • Enjoy the fruits of your labor: There’s just something so much yummier about food that’s grown right outside your door! When your fruits and veggies are ready, be sure to let Baby indulge, reminding him you made it together. He will be proud of  his efforts, and encouraged by the reward to stick with his new hobby!

Gardening may feel like more of an adult’s hobby, but it’s a great way for toddlers to get outside, enjoy the sun, and get their hands dirty, too.

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