Planting a garden is a great way to teach your children how to take care of their world. They will also learn to be patient, responsible, and open to eating new vegetables. Here's how to get started:

1. Invest in kid–sized gardening tools. Some adult–sized tools like rakes can be dangerous for little ones to carry. By giving them their own mini–set of tools, they can copy what you are doing.

2. Let your children decide what to plant. They will be more interested in their crops if they are consulted in the decision–making process. Be sure to add some quick–growing plants into the mix like sunflowers, radishes, snow peas, pumpkin, and lettuce to satisfy low attention spans.

3. Give your children their own garden beds. They will take ownership of their own space and nurture their crops more carefully. Pick plots in areas with the best soil and light. The children can decorate their spaces with rocks, sticks, or other outdoor items they find.

4. Educate while you wait. Teach your children about the importance of gardens for families all over the world. Through Christian Children's Fund of Canada, an international children's charity, you and your child can provide a vegetable seed kit to a family in a developing country while growing the same items here. As children check on their own plants, they will wonder how the other family's vegetables are doing too. Visit and search the gift catalogue for garden–growing items.

5. Reward hard work with praise. Be sure to encourage your children on their well–maintained garden plots and crop successes. Ask if you can use their carrot crop to make a salad or carve their small pumpkin together so they can take pride in their efforts.

Be enthusiastic and let your children get dirty and explore. They will have positive memories of their garden and will want to do it again next year.