Are your kids interested in exploring the world around them? This is a trait that you can put to good use. One of the best ways to teach them to take care of their environment and to provide food for their future family is to get them interested in botany. Here are some tips on what you need to keep in mind when you begin to teach botany to your children.
Teach Them to Let the Soil Breathe
The first thing that you ought to teach your kids is how the soil works. At their age, they may regard the growth of plants as almost magical. In a way, it certainly is. It’s a good idea to imbue them with a sense of wonder. This will be a quality that they can carry with them and for the rest of their life.
Soil needs to breathe. Kids are naturally curious about dirt. They love nothing more than to dig around in sandboxes and beaches. Now is the perfect time to let them know that the soil needs to breathe. To aerate soil properly, you need to stir it up a little. Give your kids a small cultivator and let them dig around.
After you have done so, you also need to show them how to feed the soil. You can give them a few handfuls of fertilizer alternatives, such as 35 food grade hydrogen peroxide or natural compost. Do not let them handle fertilizer without adult supervision. Let them dig up the dirt, aerate it, and then fertilize it with plant food. This will get them in touch with nature in an intimate way.
They Need to Know How to Space Seeds
The next thing that your kids will need to know how to do is space the seeds that they place in the ground. All of the plants that you intend to grow, from flowers to vegetables, will have different spacing needs. Some may only need to be a few inches apart from each other. Certain ones may require an entire foot.
You can help your kids visualize the right amount of distance by giving them an example their young minds can easily grasp. Put up two or three fingers to show them what a few inches look like. Hold out your arm to let them grasp how long a foot is. From there, give them some seeds and let them handle some planting.
Show Them to How Properly Water Plants
The next natural stage of childhood botany activities ought to involve teaching them to water plants in the proper fashion. Playing with the watering cans is bound to be an activity young children will love. But you will need to teach them not to over water. This is one of the things to teach them now so they don’t become plant killers.
A bit of overwatering from an exuberant child is one thing if the plant is in the ground pot. The excess water can run off into the soil around it. But if the plant is in a pot, it can quickly get drowned. The trick is to get your kids to test the soil in the pot and only water it until it becomes slightly moist.
Teach Them About Plant Biology and Photosynthesis
If you have a child old enough to understand the concept, gardening as a family is a great opportunity to teach about the biology of plants, how photosynthesis works, and how they create fruits and vegetables. This also is a great opportunity to teach about the nutrients that plants need to be able to create the proteins and cells that make this process possible. Teach them about the role of nitrogen, potassium, calcium, and phosphorus in the soil.
Once your children learn about the different nutrients that fuel plants, they can experiment with different types of fertilizer. Make homemade compost and explain what items of the compost contain which nutrients.
Teach Them to Care for Indoor Plants
Indoor plants usually arrive already fully grown. This cuts out a lot of waiting and whining for little ones who are impatient for the plants to start growing. Get a small indoor plant that you can teach your kids to the water. You can also teach them to keep them in a place with plenty of light so that they can grow.
You can reinforce the lesson by putting your kids in charge of a plant or two. Give them a spray bottle so that they won’t overwater the plant. This will also give them a good source of fun as they spray each other.
Use the Opportunity For Nutritional Science
You can also use the opportunity to teach your children about nutrition science. Explain how the nutritional value of fruits and vegetables can different. If you are planting carrots, talk to them about what is beta-carotene? What benefit does this vitamin have? What is fiber and how does it help us? By teaching children about nutrition they can appreciate healthy eating more.
Show Your Children the Wonders of Plant Life
The time to get your kids interested in plant life, horticulture, and gardening is now while they are young. Their minds are developing and taking in the world around them. This is the raw material from which they will form their view of life. Teaching them to be close to the soil will give them a set of good values.