A garden can be a wonderful place for children. Gardens provide opportunities for playing, learning, and having fun.
As our society becomes more urbanized and less connected with nature, gardens provide chances for children to learn about nature, how to grow food, and the importance of the natural world. Gardening with children can take place at home, at school, and/or at after-school programs.
Some Basic Tips for Gardeners Working with Kids:
- A picture is worth a thousand words. Never tell kids something you could show them.
- Young kids have a very short attention span. Make sure that you have lots of options available so they can get started immediately and stay busy. Digging holes is one thing that seems to hold endless fascination.
- Instant gratification helps a lot. Plant radishes even if you don't like them-they come up in three or four days.
- Growing their own will generally get kids to try eating things they otherwise wouldn't walk into the same room with.
- GETTING DIRTY IS AN INTEGRAL PART OF GROWING UP.
- Your role should be as facilitator rather than as a leader who imposes direction. Be a good model.
- When giving out supplies to several kids, try to keep seeds, tools, etc. as similar as possible to avoid the inevitable squabbles.
- After an activity, do something to reinforce what everyone has learned. Talk about what went on, who did what, who saw what. If you can, have them write things down or draw pictures. If they're too young, take dictation.
- Many kids who won't talk in a large group will often speak easily in a small group.
- When working with older kids (past about 13), one-to-one works better than groups, since gardening (and anything else that could get you dirty) is a remarkably un-cool and disgusting way to spend time. Try to add responsibility and ownership to projects. ("Quincy is in charge of the wheelbarrow today.") Try pairing up older kids with younger ones. Rest assured that if you give them a healthy respect for gardens and green things when they are young, it will stay with them throughout their lives.
- Children are very sensitive to lead poisoning and should take precautions when working in the garden.
Information originally provided by the American Community Gardening Association.
Other Youth Gardening Information
School Gardening Information
Knowing that many Mississippians share a love for home-grown tomatoes, two Mississippi State University Extension Service agents designed programs just for them.
There’s always something new happening in the world of Extension. This time, the spotlight is on a new workshop: “From Micro to Macro: Growing Ag Literacy.”
Before we get into the specifics, you might be asking, “what is ag literacy and why is it important?” (Photo by Kevin Hudson)
You’ve got a lovely container, and you want to put a plant in it. But if that container doesn’t have drainage holes, you’ll end up with a dead plant. (Photo by Jonathan Parrish/Cindy Callahan)
See what's new in Extension: Extension Supports University's Community Garden, Extension Appoints New 4-H Staff, Extension Landscape Symposium Honors Professor Emeritus, and Extension's Southern Gardener Opens Little Free Garden
After a tragic car accident in 2017 led to the deaths of two Central Elementary School students, school leaders raised money to support their funerals. Their efforts inspired many South Mississippi residents in Lucedale and across George County.
Before she became the Hancock County Youth Court judge, Elise Deano was a school teacher. She jokes that she became a lawyer because she taught school, but Deano wants to make sure young people get an opportunity to turn their lives around.