Summer Series – Kids in the Yard

Garden PearlHello friends! Summer is a great time to get some outdoor projects done around the house, but it can be difficult to get our kids to help out when they would rather just play outside or hang out with their friends. Because yard work can seem like a chore (at least to my family!), why not turn it into a fun family activity that can also be a great learning experience for children of all ages? Helping out around the yard can teach kids responsibility, dedication, and appreciation for nature while they work with you and learn how to take care of plants. Here are a few easy tips for getting the kids involved and excited about helping with the yard this summer!

  1. Bring the little ones outside – Toddlers/preschoolers may not be able to help with every outdoor project, but they do love to dig in the dirt and spend time outside! Instead of keeping the little ones out of your flowerbed, give them small tasks like digging holes for planting, watering flowers with a child-sized watering can, or pulling a couple weeds. The earlier you can get toddlers and young children participating in yard work activities, the more they will want to help out and feel that their work is valued! My four year old loves for me to give him special “job” in our garden.  Purchasing colorful, child-sized tools can make them feel like the job is theirs and that they’re “big kids” who can do what Mom does!  Don’t forget the child-size garden gloves too.
  2. Teach your kids about nature – Take advantage of the opportunity to teach your kids about nature and all of the interesting things happening with plants in the summer. Maybe it’s explaining to your child how bumblebees help to pollinate flowers, which lets us have more pretty flowers! Maybe it’s watching a tiny seed grow into a flowering plant together, and talking about what things plants need to grow, just like kids need healthy food and lots of water to grow big and strong! The yard provides a hands-on, fun way to teach kids about the science behind the world around us.
  3. Make yard work a game – Work always goes faster and is a lot more fun when there are games involved, right? Try racing to see who can pull the most weeds while singing the ABCs! Have a mini contest to see who can pick up the most sticks in the backyard! There are many different ways to turn yard work from a tedious chore into an energetic game. Harness your creativity and find what works best for your family, and your kids will be giggling in no time!
  4. Give them their own space – Why not section off a small part of your garden and let your little one grow what they want to there? Pick out seeds together, and allow your child to plant them, water regularly, and weed to gain a sense of responsibility and ownership for their special space. When the flowers bloom or the tomatoes grow, your child will be proud of their hard work and that much more excited to take care of more plants!  We have not done this yet but have a plan for it next summer!
  5. Have a positive attitude – Although yard work may not be our favorite activity, if we have positive attitudes, our children are much more likely to be cheerful about helping out around the yard. It’s important to take time to play after the work is done, and to reward good attitudes. Run through the sprinklers together, or play tag in the yard. If you have a smile on your face, so will your kids.

Instead of letting your kids spend so much  time inside this summer or watch TV to entertain themselves, invest in building positive character traits like responsibility, hard work, and helpful attitudes! Working together in the yard doesn’t have to be boring or tedious. If you have more great ideas about how to get your kids excited about helping around the yard, let me know!

I would love to hear from you. Enjoy that beautiful summer sun! – Mindy



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