A lot of people working in the horticulture and design industries will tell you that their passion for the industry started with an early exposure to all things plants when they were young. Not all children will develop a life long obsession with plants from such exposure at an early age (like some of us!), however all will benefit. Here’s a few ideas to get the littlest thumbs in your house a bit greener.
- Create interest. Children are naturally amazed by the world, and so it only takes little effort to stimulate their interest. Read a book like Jack in the Beanstalk that exaggerates the power of nature. It will also supersize their interest.
- Start small. While we are trying to stimulate their imaginations, you need to keep things manageable. Another thing young children like is anything miniaturized.. think about those shopkins! A really small pot like a Petal Pusher is perfect. Drop in a few seedlings, have a chat about the plants needing water and sunlight and select a good place for them to germinate. Every morning, get your child up and excited and rush to see how much the seedlings have grown. Maybe they have reached the sky like in the book?
- Consider vegetables. Sounds boring, but what could be more amazing than a plant you can eat? It also has to be one of the best early lessons regarding the connection between nature and food .Think carrots, tomatoes, easy vegetables to grow. You can then further the educational experience by cooking the produce in butter, honey, whatever will make your child eat the damn carrots!
- Grow imaginations too. Once your children have had the planting experience, reinforce the knowledge with a follow up chat. When you are out and about with your child, try to discuss other plants you see. Talk about the different leaves, branches, flowers, fruits. Notice the birds jumping around in the trees. What are they eating? There is really so much to see once you start looking.
While it sounds good in theory, don’t put too much pressure on the process with children. If they take an interest that’s great, but you can’t force it. Put the seedlings and pots away for a little while and try again in six months.