Gardens provide a safe place for children to experience the wonders of nature at close quarters and to discover the cycles of life and getting them to participate in the actual gardening helps them to develop an understanding of the environment and instils a sense of respect for nature. It can also encourage them to develop a taste for fresh fruit and vegetables which can often be very difficult in this day and age and they are more likely to develop a love of these kinds of foods if they’ve been involved with the planting and cultivation themselves.
Giving Your Child a Sense of Responsibility in the Garden
Your child will respect gardening even more if you buy them their own little set of gardening tools. Unless they’re extremely young, you should buy them proper miniature versions of your own tools as opposed to plastic toy tools as they’ll feel a proper sense of responsibility if they think they have similar tools to Mum and Dad and it also acknowledges the importance of the work they’re doing.
Things to Consider When Buying Your Child Gardening Tools
Firstly, make sure you buy age appropriate tools for your child. If your child is a toddler, then smaller lighter tools might be your choice. Older children can use larger or sturdier tools.
There are several garden tools manufacturers who design garden tools especially for children. Ask yourself if you want to buy tools so that your child can gain a sense of what it’s really like to help out in the garden or are they going to be doing ‘pretend gardening’. If the latter, they’ll soon end up getting bored so if you’re really serious about nurturing and instilling a love of gardening in your child, get proper tools that take into account the weight and handle grip size of the implement so that your child can use it with ease.
Consider the purpose of the tool. Is it for indoor or container gardening or for an outdoor garden? Make sure the tools are properly constructed. You might pay a bit more but these tools will last far longer and your children will learn how to care for them and maintain them. By setting aside a dedicated space in your shed or greenhouse for your children’s tool set, this will make them increasingly feel that the job they’re helping you with is worthwhile. Another way to achieve this is to set aside a small plot in the garden where your child has their own plants, flowers, shrubs etc. to tend to and nurture.
Types of Tools to Consider
Young children should never be allowed to use electrical tools or any kind of fuel driven power tool but suitable tools to consider might include proper child size versions of a spade, hoe, fork, rake, shovel, trowel, clippers, watering can and gathering basket.
Make sure the tools are age appropriate. Be wary of any sharp edges or pieces that can be swallowed. Teach them how to use each of their tools by demonstrating with your own. If you’re child is old enough to understand, it can be a good idea to relate their gardening activities to a job and to explain the safety aspects of the tools and tell them that even grown ups have to do a health and safety course when they take on a new job. However, if you’re in doubt or you have a toddler that’s likely to whack a younger sibling over the head, you might just need to stick with plastic for the time being.