Garden Supplies for Your Youngest Gardeners
If you are searching for a great outdoor activity to include your children in, there is no better choice than gardening. Digging in the dirt, planting seeds and tending to flowers, trees, vegetables or fruits helps kids to connect to nature, fosters a sense of responsibility, teaches cooperation and patience and provides a unique understanding about life cycles and physical activity too.
For the family that is ready to dive in and start a garden, having the right tools is a must. While many tools that adults use are perfect for children too, gardening equipment that is uniquely created for kids is often lighter weight, better suited for their size and easier to maneuver in the dirt. A special set of tools also motivates children to get involved in growing and harvesting the family garden and feel excited about the activities that lie ahead.
Sun Safety Equipment
To start your kids off right with their new outdoor hobby, make sure they stay safe in the sun’s harshest rays. Equip their garden tool basket with a wide-brimmed sun hat or one with an attached neck cover and appropriately sized sunglasses. Give your children a little freedom to pick out the hat and glasses they like best by allowing them to choose the color, fabric and style. This will encourage them to wear their new gear and help to prevent sunburns, heat stroke and general overexposure.
Keeping Clean While Digging in the Dirt
Every child who has ever tended a garden gets dirty. Embrace this fact, and gear your kids up for mud, dirt, water and fun. In addition to wearing older play clothes, children benefit by having an apron, rubber gloves and rubber boots to use outdoors. Choose sturdy boots in the right size and thicker, canvas gloves that fit well. These items serve a dual purpose by protecting tiny hands and feet from rocks, roots, thorns, insects and any garden debris.
Rake, Shovel and Hoe – The Essentials
A basic garden set for any adult or child should always include a rake, shovel and hoe. These tools are essential for smashing clumps of soil, digging deeper, larger holes for aeration, planting or weed removal and end of year general maintenance of all plants. Purchase a special set for each of your children that is properly sized. Rakes, hoes and shovels that are too long can be cumbersome for children to use and will typically cause frustration. While you do want these garden tools to be smaller and lighter weight, consider the quality of each piece when making a purchase. Flimsy plastic tools will likely break after minimal use, so sturdier metal or stronger plastic gardening essentials are usually a better investment.
The Benefit of Hand Tools
Children love to get closer to nature and work on hands and knees in the garden. To make it easier for them to get up close and personal with all of their plants, supply them with some small but high quality hand tools. A trowel is great for digging smaller holes in the earth. A spade will come in handy if they are transplanting seedlings in early spring, after the last frost. Look for tools with rubber grips that are less likely to slip in smaller hands. Wider and rounded blades are also often easier for children to use because they pick up more dirt but require less dexterity to use than a tool with a narrower blade does.
Helping Plants to Stay Hydrated
Every gardener knows the importance of keeping plants properly hydrated, and watering plants is a task that many children get excited about. Provide your child with her own small and light weight watering can. For this tool, forgo the metal and stick with plastic to make it easier for children to handle the can independently when it is full of water. If you want your child to use the hose, also invest in a fun and playful nozzle. Go with something that is simple for smaller hands to operate and doesn’t require a strong grip to use.
Wheelbarrow for Little Ones
While less essential, a miniature sized wheelbarrow can be a lot of fun. Your young gardener can use it to transfer compost material to the garden or haul plants and mulch. Consider the size of your child when selecting a wheelbarrow, and pick one that isn’t too long or heavy. You can find wheelbarrows with either rubber or plastic wheels. While plastic is fine in smoother, flatter yards that are easy to maneuver around, choose rubber if your yard is rocky, hilly or uneven.
To encourage your children to develop of a love of gardening, provide them with their own special, unique and appropriate tools. Consider this list of essentials, and browse through the vast selection of all that’s available online or at your local gardening store. Encourage your children to assist in making final choices, and empower them by teaching proper usage of a variety of gardening tools. Your children’s new hobby will benefit them in many ways and provide the entire family with a wonderful way to spend time together in the great outdoors.