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Tools For The Garden - Kid Style
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Tools for the Garden - Kid Style

Shovel? Check. Rake? Check. Trowel? Check. Every day that you go out into the garden you run through a mental checklist. You know that when you go out into the garden, it's important that you have the tools you need. Why should it be any different for a younger gardener?

Deciding what tools for the garden you and your partner need will depend on what kind job you are doing that day. There are certain items that you might forget, but I'm here to remind you that you should absolutely have them with you every time. Let's take a look at what those items are.

SunBlock and Proper Clothing

First and foremost is safety. Be sure that sunblock, a hat and sunglasses are on your list of required tools for the garden. Make sure you and your helper are evenly covered with sunblock that has a suitable SPF of at least 30. Take care that sunblock is applied to the nose, cheeks, and don't forget the ears. Any body part that is exposed to the sunlight is susceptible to damage. The risks of not using sunblock include sunburn, sun poisoning, and even skin cancer.

It is also necessary to protect your eyes from the damaging rays of the sun. A hat and/or UV-rated sunglasses will help to protect you and the child. Don't let sweet memories of gardening with your loved ones be ruined by sun damage.

Water

Always make sure you have access to adequate drinking water for everyone working in the garden. It's very easy to become dehydrated. Consistent intake of water is the key. Stop every 10 minutes and offer a drink of water. Avoid caffeinated or carbonated beverages and sugary drinks, especially sodas. Set a good example and hydrate yourself properly as well.

Watch for signs of heat exhaustion! The first symptoms with children are often tiredness, complaining of a headache, and inability to urinate. Many children will become red in the face or sometimes unusually pale. If you observe rapid heartbeat, a fever, extreme irritability, or exhaustion- medical treatment is necessary immediately. Untreated, dehydration can lead to death.

First Aid Kit

Even when a child is watched carefully, the garden can be a dangerous place. My toddler was jumping and playing when she fell and hit her mouth on the side of a raised garden bed. She required surgery to remove two broken teeth. A first aid kit can be one of those tools for the garden that you don't think of until you really need it. I don't carry a first aid kit out into the garden with me, but I do keep one in the garden shed so, in case of emergency, I don't have to run to the house and retrieve it.

Some recommended items for your medical kit are bandages and medical tape, antibiotic ointment, gloves, calamine lotion, and treatment kits for insect stings (and maybe even a snake bite kit). If you garden with someone with allergies like I do, you also need to have immediate access to an Epi-pen. If an Epi-pen is warranted, make sure it stays in a cool, dry place. We put ours in a sealed plastic bag in a drink cooler to keep it from going bad in the heat. If it turns brown, do not use it.

Appropriately Sized Gardening Utensils

Tools for the garden should be of the proper size for the person using them. A five year old child is going to have a hard time using an adult-sized shovel. Keep in mind that a toddler is not really going to work as much as they will play. Small children should be directed to do simple tasks that don't require a long attention span. Leave the time-consuming work to the older children. That being said, a small child doesn't need a set of "real" tools for the garden. Sets that are safe and age-appropriate can be bought online, at garden supply stores, or even the local dollar store. Real tools for the garden should be used by children old enough to use them properly.

The most important thing item in your list of tools for the garden is a great attitude. Smile, have fun with the children as you teach them about life, gardening, and safety. Show them that work can be fun when you come prepared with the proper tools.


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