We are so excited to have Laura K. Cowan of 29Diapers.com contributing her 5 Tips To Make Gardening Fun for Toddlers. You can see her bio at the end of the post. Enjoy!
I love to garden. My daughter is 2 years old. This presents a challenge, especially since our house sits on a steep hill and I can’t take my eye off my daughter for a moment without her tumbling into the back yard. But we’ve found ways to make gardening not only workable, but actually a lot of fun for both of us. Here are my top 5 tips on making gardening fun for toddlers.
1) Garden Store
To get my toddler excited about gardening, I took her to the farmer’s market and the local garden store to show her what I was buying. I let her help pay for the supplies. This can be a ton of fun for mom and baby if you have a locally run shop like we do, where there is a store cat named Lewis, traditional toddler toys, and wind chimes to play with while you pick out flowers.
2) Picking Flowers
“Flowers? Flowers?” That has become the refrain when we get in the car to run errands. When we started buying flowers and veggies for our garden this year, we went to a greenhouse filled with flowers and fruit. Baby girl wasn’t really digging it until I let her decide which pot of ranunculus we would take home, and select her favorite pot of mixed flowers. Then planting them at home was that much more fun, because she was excited to see her flowers go in the planters.
3) Toddler Tools
Toddlers love to help, so I bought my daughter her own watering can, which has flowers on it and a spout shaped like a flower blossom. She also got her own gardening hat this year, since she inherited my fast-burning fair skin. We had to try on a lot of hats to find one she would wear, but since she got to help pick her gardening hat she loves it and wears it whenever she can.
My daughter follows me around the yard and tips her watering can into the herb pots to water them. She needs help refilling her can, but just the time it takes her to water the herbs is enough for me to get some weeding or planting done. Then we’re off to sit in the lawn chairs or take a walk. She’s not crazy about the hose, so we do most of our watering this way, sometimes with mama and baby watering cans side by side.
I used to struggle to get my daughter outside every day, since she was bored with stroller walks. But now that we have gardening, she asks to go outside every day, sometimes even after sunset! I’m looking forward to putting in a raised bed vegetable garden in the next few weeks, and I can’t wait to show my daughter how much fun it is to grow and eat your own fresh produce. Summer, here we come!
Laura K. Cowan is a writer and editor. She is the founder of 29Diapers.com, a blog that teaches parents how to raise a green baby on a budget, the author of EcoFrugal Baby: How To Save 70% Off Baby’s First Year, and the Transportation Editor for sustainable design blog Inhabitat. Her work has appeared on BabyCenter.com, EcoMom.com, in Automobile Quarterly, and many other magazines and blogs. She lives in Michigan with her husband and daughter.