There is something so magical 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, dirt is ever so compelling and 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.
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. Different colours add another dynamic, there’s purple, speckled or yellow snap beans, rainbow carrots or even purple cauliflower. You’ll be surprised at the variety of colours many vegetables come in.
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. Check out Pinterest for many pictures.
Sunflowers are beautiful to children and the height is amazing even to adults. By growing them in a circle or rectangle with 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 or peas up the sunflowers for an extra crop. The 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.
~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.
~Magic for the Grown up World~
Perhaps the most magical thing about a children’s garden is for the adults to see their children actually 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 grow from that seed or flower. It will draw in new feelings towards these mystery vegetables and create a sense of curiosity and new appreciation.
Have you grown food with your children or created a space for your kids in the garden? What is the most magical experience you remember as a child ?