All we hear nowadays is how much time our children spend cooped up indoors staring at screens. But we know how much kids of all ages still love getting mucky outside exploring nature. They just need a little encouragement and perhaps their own small plot or a few tubs in your garden. With National Children’s Gardening Week just around the corner, we’ve had a think about how you can get your kids (or grandkids!) discovering the delights of gardening. Just think in a few years’ time you’ll have an extra pair of hands to help you with all the weeding!
Quick-sprouting seeds such as sunflowers and cress are a great starting point for very young children. They won’t need to wait long to see the results of their planting and they love watching to see whose sunflower will grow the tallest.
If you’ve got a fussy eater on your hands then herbs and vegetables might be just the trick to help bust some of those stubborn refusals! Growing their own tomatoes, lettuce, courgettes or strawberries is a lovely way of showing where food comes from and it tastes so much better when little hands have grown it themselves.
Bedding plug plants are a good option to get kids gardening as there isn’t much preparation needed. Just dig a hole, mix some compost in with the soil and pop in the plant. We saw a great idea for preventing over watering – a common issue with kids gardening. Instead of letting them loose with the hose or struggling with a heavy watering can, recycle old plastic water bottles by making holes in the lid. Fill it with water, turn upside down then get them to stroll around the garden lightly sprinkling their plants.
Choosing brightly coloured and unusual looking flowers will really peak children’s interest. Older children may like discovering plants with weird names such as:
Poached egg plants (Limnanthes douglasii)
Lamb’s ear (Stachys byzantina)
Eyeball plant (Spilanthes oleracea)
Chocolate cosmos (Cosmos atrosanguineus)
Balloon flowers (Platycodon grandiflorus)
Bat fat cuphea (Cuphea llavea)
Dog’s tooth violet (Erythronium dens-canis)
Bird of paradise (Strelitzia reginae)
Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus)
Bee Orchid (Ophrys apifera) – one of our favourites!
Different scents, bright colours and various textures are a great way to stimulate the senses and get our kids gardening. There are many websites packed full of ideas to get your children involved in gardening but we particularly like this resource from the RHS. Although it’s aimed at schools, all the projects can be done at home in your own garden and there’s a wide variety to suit all ages and abilities. Have a look at our other blogs to find our which flowers, trees and shrubs to plant to attract bees.
We hope you have fun getting outdoors with your kids this Spring and Summer!