Believe it or not, Mr and Mrs Lighty are both keen gardeners. I think we often fancy ourselves as living “The Good Life”, with out little veggie patch and our desire to one day keep chickens. In fact, when we saw 42 houses in the space of 5 months whilst house hunting (true story), we were told by many an estate agent that we were very unusual to want a large garden as a young couple. But the truth of the matter is, one of the things that we missed the most when we bought our first starter home together was getting outside and getting gardening (that, and we wanted to throw lavish parties in our garden, of course!).
Once Baby Lighty arrived, one of the things that we often said when he was tiny was that we couldn’t wait to get him out in our lovely garden, and get him stuck into the gardening. Of course, there are days when he’d rather run around with the football than help Mr and Mrs Lighty plant carrots, which is also totally fine, but on the whole he’s quite keen to get involved. In the past 22 months, we’ve learnt a thing or two about toddler gardening.
But how can you get your toddler involved with the gardening? Here are the top five things that Baby Lighty helps us with in the gardening:
An easy one, but Baby Lighty has helped us water the garden pretty much since he could walk. At 22 months, he calls it a “drink”…well I suppose it is a drink for the plants!! Just make sure you watch your toddler if they’re using a hose, however…Baby Lighty is lethal with it and you end up having as much of a “drink” as the flowers do!
2. Laying Turf
If you have to tackle a bigger job such as laying turf, don’t think that your little one can’t get involved. Obviously you do need to be careful if you’re using a knife to cut and shape the turf, but once that part is done and the knife is safely out of harm’s reach, ask your toddler to help flatten the turf down by stamping on it and give it a good water.Baby Lighty and his cousin had great fun helping Mr Lighty do this recently, although be warned it is a fairly messy and wet job, so old clothes are a must!!
Getting your toddler to help you with planting is an excellent introduction into the likes of growing their own veg. Aside from this, it’s also a great way to teach them about being ‘gentle’, as they have to be careful with the plants as they plant them. I wouldn’t advise that you let them loose with plants that have cost you a small fortune, of course, but we have let Baby Lighty help before with planting bulbs for Mother’s Day, or sowing seeds, for example.
Baby Lighty loves ‘helping’ Mr Lighty sweep old leaves and generally help clear areas ready for planting or laying turf. We recently removed a whole flower bed – which was why we needed to lay the aforementioned turf to cover it – and Baby Lighty took great pride in helping Mr Lighty to remove the gravel cover. He also loves wearing the gloves which are about 8 sizes too big for him!
Now for the fun part! Once you’ve grown your veg together, you’ll need to harvest it! We did this the first summer that Baby Lighty could walk; interestingly he’s not a lover of tomatoes normally, but would quite happily walk down to our vegetable patch, pick a few tomatoes and eat them there and then!Getting your toddler involved with the harvest is a great way to teach them about colours, too. Even as early as 15 months, Baby Lighty had enough of an understanding that he needed to pick the red tomatoes, and not the green ones.
We’ve loved introducing Baby Lighty to gardening this past year, and I hope that as he gets old he’ll enjoy joining in as much as we’ve enjoyed showing him the ropes. What other things do your toddlers help you with in the garden?
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