This post brought to you by Miracle-Gro Gro-ables. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Moms and Crafters.
My toddler loves eating salad, and so with the warmer weather upon us, what better activity can there possibly be than planting a salad with him?
Planting with toddlers is an amazing hands-on activity that encourages connecting with nature, sensory exploration, and a bit of adventure! It’s a great screen-free way to encourage healthy eating (especially if you’re planting veggies) and to get your toddler moving. But best of all, we had so much fun doing this together, as a way to spend time!
M has been so needy lately, sensing a new baby on the way. And in the two weeks since we’ve planted this salad, he hasn’t stopped talking about it! He wants to “go see plants with Mommy, go water plants with Mommy”. It has been a great bonding experience!
We used Miracle-Gro Gro-ables, which are guaranteed to grow, and really simplified the process. I don’t think I’d attempt planting from seed with toddlers any other way – this allowed them to focus on the fun parts, without worrying about potting mix or anything of the sort.
While our plants are still not ready to eat yet, M will be so excited when we go out and pick the vegetables to make his favorite salad! He loves when his father makes Israeli salad – finely diced tomatoes, cucumbers, and sweet peppers, so those were the first ones we planted. It’s also delicious with fresh herbs such as parsley and cilantro, so those came next. And finally, squash is also a favorite of his and along with super-healthy spinach, we rounded off our salad-planting activity.
We invited a friend to make it more fun and the two had a blast! Here are some of my top tips for planting a salad with toddlers:
10 Tips for planting a salad with toddlers:
- Start with their favorites – it’s super exciting! You can let them choose the sequence from the assortment you chose in advance.
- Prepare garden markers in advance (either as a separate activity or by yourself.)
- Put pictures on the markers so that the toddlers can “read” them. I drew simple shapes with permanent markers on craft sticks.
- Gear up! We pulled out some kid-sized gardening gear, and M loved it!
- Protect yourself and your child. Wear a hat, and don’t forget the sunscreen! We also planted late afternoon to avoid the harsh midday sun.
- Bring along plenty of water.
- Focus on the activity aspect, not the outcome. Give the toddlers jobs they can do – raking away any grass and stones, bringing you gear, putting in the markers. Bond and have fun!
- Allow yourself to focus on the activity aspect by using easy to plant products! We fell in love with Miracle-Gro Gro-ables right away. It really simplified the process, allowing the toddlers to focus on what they do best: play with dirt! They dug, raked, filled, and had lots of fun. And then they had fun peeling off the cover, and pushing the pod into the ground!
Gro-ables seed pods allowed my toddler to really connect with nature (and with his mother!) while having fun outdoors. The pod is 94% biodegradable, allowing us to just put the whole thing in! It includes plant food and potting mix so we were able to keep things simple and easy for toddlers.
- Explain to the children what is happening in very simple terms. Wave “goodbye” and say “see you later” to the plants when you drop the pod into the ground.
- Bring out a bucket of water for watering it. It’s easier to refill the watering can that way, as young kids might be distracted by the hose if you do it that way.
While we are waiting for it to grow (we just saw the first sprout today!), we are planning which planting activity to do next. I am so happy that we used Gro-ables as it really made all the difference to the activity. The toddlers liked to “attack” the gear, so having around only things that they were able to touch without destroying really helped. Streamlining the messy part kept things under control.
Have you ever tried planting a salad? Which tips do you have for planting with toddlers?