4 Tips for Gardening with Your Toddler
by Sandy M. Fernández
If they grow veggies themselves, they'll want to eat them too
To get your kids to eat more fruits and veggies, get them invested early in life — the plant's life, that is. "I've never seen a child refuse to eat something she grew herself," says Amanda Grant, author of the brand-new Grow It, Cook It With Kids. She suggests that little ones:
Till the soil
Give them a little rake and a job clearing the rocks out of a small part of your garden. Toddlers love a task, especially if it involves sitting and rooting around in dirt.
Water the strawberries
These plants are kid faves because, says Grant, "they don't need much attention and you can clearly see the little strawberry growing day by day." A flowering plant from a garden center, sprinkled daily (but no more!) by your child, should have fruit in a few weeks.
Bury the potatoes
Who hasn't grown a plant out of a spud's sprouting eye? (Even if, um, unintentionally.) Bury the burgeoning eyes in a few inches of dirt in a deep bucket or plastic trash bin. Once the plants are about four inches tall, call in your little helper: They'll need to be covered completely with soil. Repeat the grow-and-bury cycle until you've reached the top of the container. Then, the big reveal. "The exciting thing about potatoes is that they're like a surprise; when it's time to pull them up, you don't know what you're going to get."
Sprout a chickpea
Put a few dried specimens in a jar and then cover them with tepid water. Secure a paper towel over the top with an elastic band and leave overnight. In the morning, pour the water away, cover the peas with fresh water, and leave overnight again the same way. Keep doing this until they start to sprout. It will take only a few days — perfect for a toddler's short attention span.