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Source: Choreograph/istock

How To Introduce Your Kids To Gardening At Any Age

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Gardening is a great way to teach kids about the life cycle of plants and small animals, as well as where our food comes from. It's also an activity that can open the door to conversations about sustainability. But in this world of smartphones and Netflix, children of any age may be tempted to stay indoors, even when the weather turns nice. 

Here are some simple steps you can take to introduce your children to gardening, while keeping it fun and interesting. And remember: Kids are never too young or too old to enjoy the pleasures of the outdoors. Whether they're toddlers or teenagers, everyone can find a connection and passion with nature, even right in your own front yard. 

Give kids their own plot

How often are kids, especially young ones, given a space that they can truly call their own? It's fairly rare, which makes it valuable to children. When approaching children about gardening, it's important not to present the prospect as a chore. 

Presenting it as a gift--as in, "Come outside with me, I've made something for you that I want you to see"--can be much more effective. Especially when you have their plot marked off in a clearly visible way. For a successful introduction, work to establish a sense of bringing them into something that the entire household is a part of. 

Kids are rarely asked for their input when it comes to running the household, so they naturally relish opportunities to do so. When presenting your child with their gardening plot, ask them, "What kinds of things would you like to plant here?" Be prepared for answers from vegetables to exotic flowers. Then, try your best to accommodate at least one of their suggestions. 

If they suggest something that you know won't work (it's impossible to grow a palm tree in the garden, after all), then be sure to explain why it isn't possible, and suggest an alternative. The goal is for a back-and-forth discussion to take place. Then, when negotiations have closed, help the child put their ideas into practice.