Concern for our environment should not be relegated to a single day in the year, but as it stands, meaningful conversations on this subject most often emerge around June 5 – the date on which the UNEP (United Nations Environment Program) celebrates World Environment Day. The theme for this year is “Reimagine, Recreate, Restore”. Taking this as my inspiration, I’m sharing a post for Blogchatter’s #CauseAChatter program on ‘Environmental Talks’.
Who among us is blessed with the power to ‘reimagine’? Children of course.
Who among us have the vision and desire to save the world and prevent further harm? Children of course.
Restoration can only happen when a fundamental change takes place inherently, through the acceptance of mankind’s wrongdoings, and display of a sincere desire to change the future.
Personally, I don’t have much of a green thumb. I have no knowledge of gardening even though I love and thrive in nature. Fortunately, my 5-year-old son is heavily influenced by his grandfather, my father-in-law, who is a keen and knowledgeable gardener. It is a pleasure to watch them nurture the plants on our rooftop garden, on a daily basis. Trust me, this past year would’ve been very difficult to deal with if this outlet hadn’t been there for my son. Quite miraculously, our in-house grandfather-grandson team managed to grow watermelons and even strawberries in our usually arid Delhi weather!
I understand not everyone has the luxury of space to grow gardens at home, but one can nurture indoor plants or small planters in verandas too. If you would like to inculcate a love of gardening and all things green in your little ones, here are a few easy tips to follow:
MAKE GARDENING A PART OF THEIR DAILY ROUTINE:
Children are creatures of habit. They thrive and grow within the confines of a pre-defined daily schedule that allows them to know what to expect at what point in time. If gardening is a mandated evening activity (or a morning one during vacations), they will begin looking forward to it, even if reticent to participate in it at first.
ENSURE THAT IT IS A FUN ACTIVITY WITH USE OF INTERESTING TOOLS & STORIES:
If your children think that gardening is ‘a boring adult activity’, it’s because it has been presented to them as a boring adult activity. We need to change this perception and make it fun and approachable for all ages. This is easily done by following these simple steps:
- Order some fun animal shaped water sprinklers
- Encouraging them to get wet or dirty – don’t scold them!
- Tell them stories related to nature during the process
- Once they see the results of their hard-work they will start truly enjoying the process
- Take lots of photos, save their gardening progress for posterity – maybe you can even make an album!
READ TO THEM ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF GROWING TREES AND SAVING ALL SPECIES ON THE PLANET:
Books are the best teachers on any subject, and in recent years there has been a plethora of books introducing the subject of environment conservation to children, in a fun and engaging manner. Here are a few that my son particularly enjoys (ages 2-6):
- ‘The Lorax’ by Dr. Suess
- ‘The Journey Home’ by Frann Preston-Gannon
- ‘The Giving Tree’ by Shel Siverstein
- ‘Our Planet’ by David Attenborough
- ‘Jungle School’ series in the Tinkle Origins Collections
INVOLVE THEM IN EVERY STEP OF THE GARDENING PROCESS:
The life cycle of a plant is a fascinating and long process that requires dedication and patience to see through in its entirety. Fortunately, it offers great satisfaction upon completion. If children are involved in every step – right from planting seeds, choosing vermicompost, daily watering and nurturing and tending to the buds – they will definitely be more invested in gardening and will eventually grow up loving the process.
START EARLY FOR MOST EFFECTIVE RESULTS:
The younger your children are when you initiate them into gardening practices, the more likely they will be to convert it to a lifetime habit. Even new-borns should be familiarised and exposed to the bounties of nature as far as possible, and from there introduced to gardening at a young age. This will ensure that all your babies flourish – both humans and plants.
I hope these tips prove useful to you in your journey of gardening with your children. Do share your tips and comments below!
I also wrote a column on the subject of World Environment Day for The Daily Guardian – on the importance of adopting sustainable building practices for our homes and offices. You can read it by clicking on the link.
This blog post is part of the blog challenge ‘Blogaberry Dazzle’ hosted by Cindy D’Silva and Noor Anand Chawla.
This post is part of Blogchatter’s CauseAChatter
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It’s amazing that the duo managed to grow even watermelons! Great post, Noor
Thank you! Glad you liked it!
Watermelons…wow!! Inculcating the love for plants in the younger generation is very important. To make it more interesting for them, food prepared with anything they have grown can be named after them. They can decorate the pots too with DIY painted animals etc. I
love gardening…but unfortunately iam now not able to do much of repotting or heavy work due to an tennis elbow problem. Even without a proper garden, a tiny apartment balcony too can be made pretty and green if we put our mind to it.
Absolutely agree with all these points 🙂
Truly believe in all the pointers you mentioned above to inculcate the love for gardening in kids. I am at happy place seeing my kids ready with their tools and appliances to join me while daily gardening.
Your tips are so sensible and practical, Noor. Including children in an activity makes them curious about it. Your sons watering can is so adorable!
Your tips are so simple and sensible, Noor. Including children in an activity makes them curious about it, and they want to learn more. Your sons watering can is so adorable!
This was super relatable , even my kids love gardening and every year we make efforts to make more space for Planting more
Your post reminded me of a discussion my friends had on growing dhaniya at home and how a friend’s father-in-law was helping them with tips on getting it right. I don’t know if the dhaniya will grow but that sharing of tips I will always remember 🙂
Wow love the greenery! Yes I agree that it is important for them to learn how important it is to keep our world green! Good tips.
It’s amazing that Duo managed to grow watermelon🍉….. Great work
Being mindful towards mother nature is very vital for restoration. I agree its our future generation who is gong to face the heat of our deeds. Making them aware and inculcating gardening habit will help in restoration to some extent.
Such a great way include children in a good activity which can be a lifetime habit for them. Really loved the concept and your son looked so happy while watering the plant.
Noor, your post and the snaps of your son remind me our neighborhood kid who has inculcated this habit of gardening from the last lockdown and making their balcony a green corner that looks so serene and calm. Your son is too cute. I really admire your decision that kids should cultivate the habit of gardening as early as possible. I liked that cute elephant water sprinkler. It’s a great idea to use them to encourage children for gardening.
Lovely post. True that gardening allows children to have some fun under the sun with soil and water. They will definitely love it as the colors, and aroma of plants,flowers and soil will stimulate all their senses. Spending time with kiddos is an additional bonus for us as well! Happy Gardening!
Such a lovely post. I gave my kid an old sanitizer spray bottle so he doesn’t over water the plants and keeps him occupied for a bit. Thanks for the book recommendations, was looking for some environment appreciation reads for kids
What a lovely garden, I really wish my kids could have this kind of an outlet, barely possible in mumbai though.
But I must say, my daughter really enjoys growing window plants and there are some good pointers here to help encourage her. Love the elephant watering can!!!
These are really good tips. Your post reminded me of how we would give our children a small patch to maintain at every station we were posted. That is how they started eating karelas and laukis 🙂
Oh that’s awesome 🙂
Thank you 😊
A really happy post that is close to my heart. By the way the elephant shaped watering can is adorable. The grandfather and grandson team are doing so well. Reminds me of the time I spent in the garden with my grandsons. Now they are growing chilies, raspberries, mint, and growing butterflies too. Your son and FIL are lucky they have each other. I miss my kiddos.
Watermelon and that’s also in your own garden? That’s amazing. Yes, it’s really good to talk about our environment with our kids. Gardening is the best way to let them know how to save our planet only by increasing greenery. That’s a great effort.
Noor this is such a educative article. It is absolutely necessary to introduce the kids to gardening it is through them we will be securing their environmental future.
Absolutely loved your points Noor. There was a time when my nature lover boy has turned totally opposite. It took me a lot of time to bring him closer to nature and make him start doing his bit of gardening.
I’m glad he’s back on track!
Wow! I miss gardening!My mom used to give me a small space in the balcony to grow some saplings!I used to love growing them! Inculcating this habit in children is such a good thing to do!
Extremely informative Noor….I am sure there’d be many a young gardeners trying their green tricks soon. We did it when we were young and on the army 2 month annual leave of my father but our guide was our old gardener who would bear with our mischiefs too patiently but the learnings were huge as you rightly point out. Awesome!!!
That’s a lovely memory to share!
You are absolutely right. It should be an activity a child enjoys and should not seem like a chore. Even a limited space can be converted into an oasis of sorts with flourishing greens. Growing up, my brother and I would not only enjoy seeing the garden grow, but it was also a great way to learn about the environment. And also in house botany lab!
Haha that’s true
Lovely! I agree with you that children are creatures of habit. Gardening is a thoughtful habit that can and should be inculcated in children with patience.
Love your post. The tips are so helpful. I am on a plan to set up the terrace garden. They would be really helpful.
Living in a Mumbai appartment doesn’t give us much of space for gardening but we do have some plants. I need to try some of your tips to get my daughter interested who seems to lose interest after a point when the seed turns into sapling and I’m the one watering it later…
I understand what you mean – just keep at it 🙂
Such a lovely post. i gave my kiddo an empty sanitizer spray bottle to be used for watering the plants, while it keeps him occupied it also prevents him from overwatering them. Thanks for the book recommendations, was looking for some environment appreciation titles for kids
Loved all the tips Noor. yes, gardening offers lots of great benefits for kids and if we start early can get great results. your post making me inspired to start gardening with my girls.
I wish I would also have a garden because I love gardening…. A kid should learn gardening from childhood so that they can get aware of greeny environment….. Thanks Noor for sharing this blog…..
Lovely Post, Noor! I loved the presentation. Even I don’t know much about plants but I love gardening, I have a small garden and I involve my daughter while watering the plants.
Thats a brilliant post Noor. Even my kids love gardening as I have been a great fan of plants and garden. We have a weekly routine of doing things together in our balcony garden and kids love it.
Wow! Growing your own watermelons sound very interesting! Thanks for sharing such wonderful tips and movie suggestions to encourage children to enjoy gardening
It is.important to connect our kids to nature. This is an.important point in the overall development of the child as well..what better way than gardening. Loved this post.
Even my kiddo loves gardening and she was so happy after successfully growing mint plant . Your pointers are really helpful .
Great tips Noor. Even my kids planted strawberries in our garden and they were so happy after doing that. We also encourage our kids for gardening and it’s really great outdoor activity for them.
That’s a cute little watermelon, kudos to your boy. My son loves gardening too, thanks to his grandmother who taught him the importance of plants in our life. Whenever we are at nani house, they both spend hours working in the garden tending to little plants.
My kids love gardening from an early age. And now the job of watering the plants is assigned to my son n spraying water to leaves is to be done by my daughter. They love doing it n even if I forget, they do it on their own and later remind me…
This is you leading by example; its really important to introduce kids to nature & nature caring – nurturing practices like gardening ; for Sustainable future minds too. And what best its super fun & soon becomes a favourite hobby.
I do a lot of gardening with my son and he loves it. Through out lockdown we have grwon so many kinds of vegetables in our containers
Even I am not a gardening person but the garden looks wow. However, your tips to make people love gardening is wonderful…
Tips are for children, but yes people too can learn from them!
Right habits do stay for longer and for much longer time if they are germinated in the childhood. I liked the idea of animal shaped water sprinkles that make kids interested towards it and making them understand the importance of each plant is so vital. As kids are going to be decision makers in future, these small steps help them to become empathetic towards nature. We have vertical stand that houses nearly 20 pots.
I’ve been enjoying gardening time with my daughter and I must say we enjoy it a lot. Coincidentally my watermelon plant just started growing
Oh that’s awesome!
My son & I indulge in some gardening as well nd it has inculcated great love for nature in general. He loves to grow and nurture the little saplings.