Weeding can be both a fun and educational experience for children. When you give them tasks that are age appropriate and let them explore the world around them it can go from an arduous task to an enjoyable family event.
Get Them Involved in the Preparation
When preparing for weeding a garden or flower bed allow your children to get involved in the planning. Take them to the store and let them pick out items like plastic gardening tools, gloves and a sun hat. Giving them choices about things that need to be used for the weeding process will help them to feel involved.
Explain the process of weeding in simple terms. Tell them about how the weeds take nutrients and water from the other plants and sometimes weeds make it harder for the vegetables or flowers and plants to grow.
Age Appropriate Tasks
Different aged children will understand the chore of weeding differently. Children that are 2 to 3 years old will more than likely want to play in the dirt instead of actually pulling the weeds themselves. Encourage your toddler to use toy gardening tools like rakes and shovels to play in the dirt. Playing with the toys will help your child to understand what is needed to weed a garden. On the other hand children 4 and up are more likely to understand how to weed. Give them clear easy to follow instructions on how to pull the weeds. It may take a few times before your child understands what is expected, but being patient will make it a fun experience.
Make it Educational
While weeding talk to your child about the different plants that are in the flower or vegetable garden. Explain how plants get nutrients and why it is important to water and fertilize your plants. Tell your child about the importance of getting all the weeds out of the ground and how this will benefit the fruits, vegetables and flowers in the garden.
While you and your child are cleaning up give him/her tasks like gathering up the weeds and putting them into a bag or putting away the tools that he/she used while weeding. Giving your child the responsibility of helping clean up will make them feel needed.
Weeding will be more accepted by your child and more fun too if you praise their efforts after the job is done. Tell them how glad you were that they were able to help you clear the weeds and how much taller the plants will grow and how much healthier they will be. Telling your child that you are proud of them will in turn make them proud of themselves and they will be more apt to want to help in the future.
Making weeding fun for children is easy. Allowing them to be part of the preparation, assigning age-appropriate tasks, teaching them about the garden's plants and why weeding is important, giving them responsibilities when cleaning up and praising them when the job is done are all ways to insure that the experience of weeding is enjoyable for your child.