There is something so wonderful about gardens to a child’s eye.
Like a mini jungle, little footsteps seek out the adventure and wonder amidst the towering plants. There are so many things to discover, colours to look at and dirt to play in. The touch and feel of different leaves amuse little hands. With a little extra enthusiasm, you can add some elements to your garden to make it even more magical for a child to play in.
After all gardening with your children creates memories.
Why not make it magical?
There are some vegetables that are a little more magical for children to grow as they’re related to some of the childhood classics.
- Pumpkins will easily remind children of Cinderella. The large vining plants spread far and wide in all sorts of directions and children can carve the pumpkins for Halloween.
- Jack and the bean stalk will have a whole new meaning when kids can plant the large seeds themselves and watch them climb upwards, open pretty flowers and pop out beans.
- Vegetables that little hands can help open are fun like peas, shell beans and edamame.
- Colourful veggies add another dynamic. There’s purple, speckled or yellow snap beans, rainbow carrots, easter egg radishes or even purple cauliflower or peas. You’ll be surprised at the variety of colours many vegetables come in! When selecting your seeds in catalogs look for the colourful fun ones.
Is there anything more fun for kids to sit under than a teepee? Using large bamboo poles you can make a teepee and tie string across each pole and grow peas, beans or malabar spinach (a vining heat loving leafy green) up them. Teepee’s will be easier for little children to sit under than for older kids.
Sunflowers are beautiful to children and the height is amazing even to adults. By growing them in a circle or rectangle with a gap for an opening you can create a fort for them to play in. A nice bonus is that the inside will offer some shade from the hot summer sun, and kids can grow beans, morning glories or peas up the sunflowers for an extra crop. A sunflower fort is good for kids that are too big to fit under a teepee (even grown ups can enjoy them!).
Using large sticks or store-bought bamboo, you can build tunnels in your garden to allow beans, peas or even little pumpkins or squash to grow overhead. Tunnels are enjoyable for little ones to walk through and it’s a fun layout for them to harvest. Use two garden beds opposite each other and use the path way as the ‘tunnel’. Bean seeds or peas are easy for kids to plant and make perfect crops to grow and harvest in a tunnel.
~A Vegetable Patch of Their Own~
By creating a small space for your kids to grow their favourite vegetables you’ll be enticing them to eat more vegetables. By allowing them to choose what they grow, you’re giving them the opportunity to be closer to their food and appreciate the work that goes from seed to harvest.
Flowers have an amazing effect on children. There is something fun and engaging about hand picking flowers of all sort of shapes, sizes and colours. By growing flowers for your children’s garden you’re also helping out the bees by giving them pollen and nectar which they in turn help to pollinate your food. Some favourites include calendula, zinnias, sunflowers and nasturtiums.
Using flowers with long stems (or even sticks), your kids can have a fairy wand from the garden. My favourite ones are the allium flowers (onions, garlic, leeks that have gone to seed) as they have large pretty lobe flowers with stronger stems.
~Magic for the Grown up World~
Perhaps the most magical thing about a children’s garden is for the adults to see their children want to eat vegetables. In our modern day world the convenience of grocery stores has greatly disconnected children from their food sources. In the garden they can observe a seed sprout or a little bee pollinate a flower and then a vegetable grows from that seed or flower. It will draw in new feelings towards these mystery vegetables and create a sense of curiosity and new appreciation.
Creating a magical garden for your kids is fun and it allows kids to love gardening even more!