Plant a vegetable garden with children to encourage them to eat fresh, healthy foods. Children enjoy digging in the dirt and planting seeds during this outdoor activity. They'll learn about the growing process when they have direct experience with it. Gardening teaches children about the provisions of the earth and healthy eating. Spend class or family time working in a vegetable garden that they participate in from the planning to harvesting stages.
Sit down with the children and look at a catalog of vegetable seeds. Discuss the types of vegetables that they enjoy eating. Make a list of seeds and seedlings to order or purchase. Choose several types of vegetables for the children. Potatoes, radishes, carrots and pumpkins are good choices.
Teach your own children or class how to plant a single vegetable seed in a peat pot, recyclable cup or handmade newspaper pot. A bean, tomato, pumpkin or pepper seed work well for a child to plant. Make row markers with craft sticks, painted rocks or plastic signs while waiting for seeds to grow. Place a bean seed on a damp paper towel and teach the children to observe the changes in it as the hard shell splits open and a sprout begins to grow.
Section off a small portion of your garden for a vegetable bed. Teach the children how to mark a straight row with two sticks and a piece of string. Hoe a short row alongside the stretched string. Let a child try to hoe too. Guide each child as seeds are planted into the soil and covered according to the package instructions. Take turns allowing children to insert row markers to identify the seeds planted in the rows.
Show each child how to transplant her vegetable seedlings into a newly hoed row. Hold a young child's hands between your own and show him how to hold a seedling while pushing soil around it to cover the root system.
Pass a trowel to a child and encourage her to dig a little hole that is 3 inches deep in the soil. Tell a child to drop a seed potato into the hole then guide her to cover it with soil. The children will be able to watch for changes in the soil as the plant emerges. Teach them to hill the potato plant, explaining that the baby potatoes need more soil to keep growing.
Teach children to water and weed their vegetable garden. Help them to identify the vegetable plants. Share information with the children about the helpers in the garden including bees, worms and good insects.