Gardens are a wonderful resource to take advantage of if you have the space, time and dedication that they require. However, gardens sometimes aren’t recognized for the great potential for family time that they can help bring to a family. Pulling weeds or adding mulch to the garden can become an enjoyable family activity, and any kid will love searching for ripe, delicious vegetables amongst the leaves of your plants and reaping the rewards of their efforts when harvest comes each year. However, a little planning is required to make your garden child-friendly.
Making sure the majority of the plants in your garden are kid-friendly may be one of your priorities if you plan to maintain a family garden. Roses, for instance, are a great example of the type of plant that you could include in your garden to illustrate the versatility of plants, such as eating rose hips or making rose water, but since the plant is so thorny, it may not be a good pick for gardens with adventuresome children. With proper supervision, though, it could be just fine. Plants that are toxic to humans, however, like rhododendron or oleander, would be best avoided altogether.
Don’t forget to put some kid-friendly structures in your family garden, too! Stools or platforms that your kids can climb on are a great way to add visual impact, as is adding a gravel or mulch-covered area to define the space, and this will keep the garden low-maintenance and manageable, too. You could even put a traditional kids’ swing-set or jungle-gym here, or you could build something fun for your kids yourself, like a tire swing from a large tree or a slide going down from a raised deck. Sinking a trampoline in a secluded area of the yard is a great way to provide kids with their own “secret” play area, too. Bear in mind, however, that just as a home requires maintenance to keep it in good condition, any structures you add will need checking regularly for condition and safety.
If you want your kids to play an active role in the maintenance of your garden, it’s a good idea to make it fun and appealing for them from the start. Turn harvest time into a scavenger hunt for the most (or best) vegetables and fruits, or turn weed pulling into a contest to see who can get the most done in one afternoon. If you’re feeling a bit adventurous, you can give kids their own area or plant to care for in the garden to help get them involved!
Your garden can be like an extra room during the warmer months, and it’s a great place to spend time with your family. Planning a child-friendly garden will ensure the whole family can enjoy it throughout the year.