Kids naturally gravitate toward dirt, as any mom knows, so gardening with your little ones is a productive way to encourage all of that dirty play. Growing from seeds instead of seedlings lets your child see the entire growing process. The choice of seeds is one of the most important situations. Tiny seeds are difficult for small hands. Likewise, seeds that take forever to germinate lose your child's attention. With attention to your children's needs, you can help them plant their own garden while they enjoys fresh air and learn about the plant life cycle.
Choose kid-friendly seeds that will grow into plants that appeal to your children. Beans, sunflowers and gourds have large seeds that children can plant easily. Herbs and lettuce have smaller seeds, but they germinate quickly so your little ones see growth soon after planting. Let your kids pick their own seeds to make the garden more exciting for them.
Prep the planting area before your little one heads to the garden. Break up the soil for easy planting. Dig the rows or create the hills depending on the specific planting requirements for the seeds. He'll quickly lose patience if he has to wait for you to dig up a garden plot or loosen the dirt. An older child may want to tackle the ground prep, but younger kids usually do better if they can get right to the planting.
Explain the planting process to your child. Show her the seeds before you start planting. Tell her where the seeds go and how far apart they should be planted. Place a few seeds in the ground to give her a guide before she starts planting.
Pour a small amount of seeds into a little plastic cup or bowl. Your junior gardeners can easily reach in the container to pick up seeds and are less likely to spill them than they would holding them in their hands. Supervise them as they put the seeds in the dirt. Give them guidance if they put the seeds to close, but don't get too upset if the spacing is wrong. If a few seeds get too close you can thin them as they begin to grow.
Help your kids cover the seeds with soil. If the seeds only need a light layer of dirt, give them a cup of soil that they can sprinkle on top. If they try to push soil from the sides of the row, they may shift the seeds.
Fill a misting spray bottle with water. Have your gardening assistant mist the area where she planted the seeds. The misting prevents washing away the seeds, which can sometimes happen when using a hose or watering can.