June 6th is National Gardening Exercise Day. This day encourages people to go outside to work in their garden and get exercise. However, you don’t need an official day to plant a garden and get active with your children. Gardening can be a great bonding activity. Parents and children can have one-on-one time and reap the rewards of the produce. Here are a few things to consider and some helpful tips before you begin to cultivate your garden.

1. Decide Together

Allow your kids to be part of the decision when planning what you’ll plant in your garden. First, you’ll want to analyze the conditions regionally and the site of the actual garden. Parents can make gardening a fun learning experience by researching the importance of light, soil, drainage and other key environmental factors that will impact the garden. Research together which plants will grow well, while considering the elements of your local climate.

Include fruits and vegetables that your family will want to eat. If they enjoy eating something, they’ll be more inclined to take care of the harvest and show more of an interest in the overall concept of gardening.

2. Design a Gardening Sign

As long as you can differentiate between the tomatoes and cucumbers, allow your child to be creative and have fun with the design element of making the gardening signs. Gardening, in general, is a great opportunity to have a hands-on learning experiment that will require a lot of TLC throughout the season. Keep in mind that it doesn’t matter what the sign looks like as long as you can read it. What’s important is that the end product is to your child’s liking. If you need a little inspiration, check out Pinterest for some great ideas.

3. Dirt, Dirt, Dirt

Opt for an outfit that you don’t necessarily care about because everyone is going to get dirty—sometimes getting dirty is fun! Everything is washable and dirt is one of the key elements to the success of a garden. If you’re concerned with mud, then try tying shopping bags around your child’s sneakers and set up a hand-washing station prior to beginning the gardening festivities. This will alleviate any potential messes.

4. Bugs and Creepy Crawlers

Gardening goes hand-in-hand with bugs and other creepy crawlers. Use this opportunity to educate your children on the different types of bugs dwelling in the area and peak their interest with fun facts that they’ll find intriguing. If your child is a bug lover, they’ll probably be super excited and curious about the little creatures living in their area. And if your child isn’t a bug connoisseur then this is a great opportunity to rid your little one of their fears.

5. Timeline

Gardening, for children, can be mentally exhausting because they’ll expect results immediately. It’s important to map out a timetable of how long the process of growing produce will actually take. Engage children by using fun daily calendars to chart the garden’s progress or perhaps a journal that will allow children to track their daily reactions. All in all, maintaining a timeline will help to nurture the educational aspect behind gardening without seeming too pushy. Maintaining a timeline will engage your child and provide a fantastic learning experience.

In today’s world, there are not a lot of opportunities for children to interact with nature. Therefore, gardening is the perfect opportunity for children to develop an appreciation and understanding for the natural world around them. And you’ll find that gardening is a great source of exercise that you and your child can do together.

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