This Visitor Guide is courtesy of the Farm Park Preservation Association

Kids Gardening Corner

This article originally appeared in the Summer 2016 issue of The Park Enthusiast.

Dig, dig, dig, turn the soil, pull the weeds, feel the warm sun and the cool soil beneath your feet and in your hands! See a wiggly worm tunnel through the dirt, hear the birds, and smell the earth! If you're looking for an engaging outdoor activity that allows the whole family to participate, consider a family garden or getting involved with a local organic farm or community garden.

Kids planting

From selecting their vegetables and flowers, preparing the earth and planting the seeds, to finally harvesting the fruits of their labor – gardening can be a wonderful way to involve your children in a healthy hobby your entire family can enjoy! Children will relish the smell of lavender, sage, fennel, and parsley. They will adore the vision of vibrant colors of the strawberries, peppers, squash, eggplant, watermelons, sunflowers, and cosmos. They will savor the taste of the nasturtium, broccoli, snap peas, and corn. They will delight in feeling the soil on their feet and squished in their toes, the sweat on their brow,and the sprinkles of water as they tend to the garden! They will be entertained by the sounds of robins, catbirds, and finches, as well as the buzzing of the bees and the sound of cicadas shaking in the trees!!

Kids harvesting

Along with the fun of getting dirty, gardening helps children learn valuable lessons about patience as they wait for vegetables to grow, responsibility as they see how necessary their care is to the garden, and even loss when flowers die at the end of a season. They learn about nurturing a life and what it takes to keep something alive. Children are natural nurturers; giving them an opportunity to take care of something on their own gives them a sense of pride and accomplishment.

Looking for wildlife in a garden is a great part of the fun for little ones. Kids love insects and worms. Gardening introduces children to some of the living creatures in the soil, under rocks and on plants. So, bring your magnifying lenses, your bug boxes, and your excitement as you get an up close look at the lady bugs, ants, pill bugs, spiders, caterpillars, grasshoppers, crickets, dragonflies, butterflies, and slugs, oh my!

Gardening can be a wonderful family project filled with adventure, experimentation, and learning; and children love to learn when they're having fun. Not only will your kids enjoy the satisfaction of nurturing life, but they'll love spending time with you – so dig in!