Plant a Family Garden

Family Garden

Age: 0+

Time: depends on your project

Materials: soil, a pot, and seeds or starter plant at minimum


Focus: Develop Life Skills

Let’s face it, there’s only so much talking a family can do. Sometimes you just have to get out there and DO something together. Building strong family bonds has as much to do with sharing values and ideas as it does with sharing memories and experiences.

Planting a family garden, even if it’s just putting a plant or two in a couple of pots, is a lovely way to share an experience together and be reminded of your time together day after day and year after year.

Don’t worry if you think you have a black thumb. There are some extremely hard-to-kill houseplants out there.

Much like caring for a pet, caring for a garden is an ongoing experience. Base your family garden project based on how much maintenance you believe you and your children can embrace.

If you’re a bit more adventurous, make it more of a planning lesson and have your kids help write a list of materials needed (soil, shovel, gloves, types and number of plants, etc.). Then go to the garden store and gather the items.

If you’ve got the space, you can make a research project for older kids of figuring which plants grow well together. Some plants are highly effective at keeping bugs away. Perhaps the kids would be most interested in that if mosquitoes are a problem in your area.

There are so many adventures in nature you can explore together.

As little or as much effort and space you want to dedicate to this project are all absolutely fine. The experience of having an idea and executing it together is what matters.

Family Garden Tips

  1.  Whether or not you have a large area to work with, it’s always a good idea to start small and grow your space over time. Help your children develop a fondness for taking care of something and seeing it grow over time before committing to extensive projects.
  2. Don’t want to deal with garden pests? Stick to succulents. There are plenty of flowering varieties that make beautiful gardens.
  3. Invest in a few child size tools to make the experience fun and more accessible for young children.
  4. Choose interesting plants. Let your child wander around the garden store and see what spikes their interest.
  5. Don’t worry about growing food if you don’t want to. Yes, growing your own food can be a wonderful life cycle lesson for kids. But it can also be an enormous amount of work. Make this experience as easy on yourself as possible.
  6. Visit farmer’s markets and farms to see large scale farming examples in action. Involve discussions about where your food comes from and how much work goes into it. Use that knowledge to expand your gratitude practice at home.

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Somer Loomis

Somer is the Chief Content Officer at Raising Families living in Southern California with her husband and five-year-old son. She spent 10 years in the architecture field as a designer and medical planner and now applies her love of integrative thinking and big-picture planning to her family and career. Read full bio >>

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