Five tips for getting kids involved in the garden

Gardening is not just for grown-ups. As part of its Good for You incentive, the Creative Discovery Museum is presenting "Sprout," celebrating kids in the garden, today from noon to 4 p.m.

"Spring is a great time to motivate kids with gardening," said Jayne Griffin, director of education at CDM.

Good for You promotes eating colorful, fresh fruits and vegetables and increasing physical movement, especially the type that occurs out of doors.

"For kids, the best way to exercise is active play," Griffin said.

Sprout will include presentations from the Master Gardeners of Chattanooga and the Thompson Worm Farm, among others. Kids will learn how to incorporate what they grow into what they eat, by making a grilled vegetable pizza with chef Jericho Michel of the Terminal Brewhouse.

"One great way to get kids to eat fruits and vegetables is to get them growing them from the ground up, and even from the seed up," said Griffin. "Then it's something they've had a hand in making happen."

Here are tips for getting kids involved in the garden.

1 It doesn't have to be overwhelming. You can start in pots. Sometimes that's less daunting than an acre or more. At CDM, they're growing brussels sprouts, strawberries and blueberries in containers.

2 Create themed gardens. Make a pizza garden of herbs and tomatoes, or a rainbow garden, including a vegetable from each color of the rainbow. Choose a vegetable from each letter of the child's name.

3 Involve kids from the beginning. Let them be a part of the planning process. Take them along to purchase seeds and supplies.

4 Think about what's developmentally appropriate. For younger children, just playing in the dirt is a good way to start. Older children can be introduced to tools. The key is to get them interested.

5 Have fun. If caregivers see it as fun, kids will see it as fun. "When we're so determined to do what's best for our children, we forget we're supposed to relax and have fun ourselves," Griffin said.

Contact Holly Leber at or 423-757-6391. Follow her on Twitter at