Organic gardening can be fun with your kidsIt’s that time of the year when you may want to consider starting an organic garden, and you should! It’s true that gardening with small children in tow can have its challenges. But gardening also provides virtually limitless learning opportunities for children and adults alike, so here are five easy tips for planning a garden with your kiddos:

1. Start Small & Keep It Simple

Gardening does not need to be done with a lot of land, since many vegetables and herbs can be successfully grown in containers. For those just starting out, try a small garden with just a few easy-to-grow vegetables. Keeping it simple will be less stressful for you and will help ensure some early growing success for your garden.

2. Use a Kid-Friendly Layout

Some kid-friendly garden designs include: raised beds or containers, square-foot gardening, or planting in rows that allow plenty of walking room in-between. If possible, designate a small area of the garden for your child to experiment with his or her own mini-garden, and to grow whatever he or she would like.

3. Give Kids Tools of Their Own

Consider buying some kid-sized gardening tools to further encourage children to have an active role in the garden. Many can be found inexpensively in stores like Target or even the dollar store. Some tools you may want to start out with include: kid-sized gardening gloves, shovel, cultivator, and watering can.

4. Choose Plants that Grow Easily

Picking plants that grow easily allows kids to have the joy of success, which makes it more likely they’ll catch the gardening bug. These vegetables, flowers, and herbs are great for those who are new to gardening: lettuce, sunflowers, basil, peas, carrots, marigolds, cherry (or grape) tomatoes, parsley, and onions.

5. Decorate the Garden

Another way to include the kids in this early stage of gardening is to decorate the garden with seed markers, colorful banners, or other garden crafts. One year, we made a special garden banner to welcome all of our plants and make our garden fun and colorful. If you’d like to try this fun and easy project with your own children, the instructions are can be found here.

Have fun gardening with your kids!!

Valerie Deneen is the author of Inner Child Fun, a blog filled with inexpensive craft and activity ideas, money saving tips, and all around good times on a budget. She loves sewing, digital photography, organic tea, dark chocolate, gardening, clipping coupons, bourbon, knitting, graphic design, and cooking. Valerie is a graduate of Bucknell University, a former senior software engineer, and now a stay-at-home mom.