Green finger fun: how to get kids involved in the garden

July 1, 2013

From sunflower growing to miniature greenhouses, there’s plenty of fun for kids to have in the garden this summer. If you’re worried about little ones pulling up your newly planted seedlings and not dandelions and weeds, here are just a few ways to get them inspired to help outdoors:

Growing enthusiasm

There are many activities with kids you can do both indoors and out to get young minds engaged in the idea of nurturing vegetables or flowers. Growing mustard and cress is a nice rainy day activity, and only requires seeds, a tray and some tissue. A sunflower race is also fun for a group of children- just label each seed pot with each child’s name, and have a competition to see whose grows tallest.

sunflowers

Molly aged 3

If you fancy trying out something more unusual, you can also entertain young children by growing fruit and vegetables from dinner leftovers. Avocado stones, spring onion stalks and pineapple tops all work well for this activity- just place in a small, clear jar of water, and watch roots grow within a few days’ time. You can use lots of different fruits and veg for this experiment, and encourage your children to track progress by making a wall chart.

Plotting success

Creating a specific area of garden for children to take responsibility for is a good way to sustain their interest. Fence off a flowerbed for your little ones to look after, and let them make the decisions about what goes in it. Older kids can research different sorts of plants online, and learn about nature along the way.

A snacking garden, where you can grow foods like tomatoes and strawberries that children can eat or turn into recipes is a great way to make the most of your garden space. Alternatively, planting a “pizza garden” is another great way to make the link between growing and eating.  You could looking into growing herbs like thyme, mint and sage which can be used in the kitchen to make healthy family meals, and encourage children to water and look after their herb plants along the way.

gardening

Garden-inspired arts and crafts

Although not every child is a born horticulturalist, the great outdoors can provide plenty of inspiration for art projects. For example, you could help your children make “footprints” using different sized pebbles from the garden for toes, and place them in empty flowerbeds for decoration. Or, if you’re planting new seeds, encourage children to keep track of what’s what by making labels out of lolly sticks that you can put in the ground. Once your plants have flowered, you can also use fallen petals for activities such as flower pressing, collages or scrapbook making.

Screen Shot 2013-07-01 at 19.49.49

Some kids love science, music or art, others enjoy using tools, building or digging by hand. If you channel their interests, there’s always a way to involve your child in your family garden. And, if you’re smart, you might even get some help with the garden chores, too!

 

Disclaimer: This is a guest post

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