Calling all you green-fingered garden fanatics and amateur weed pickers. The sun is out and spring has officially sprung. It's the perfect time to introduce your little ones to the magical world of gardening. Kids seem less than impressed at this idea? Read our top tips for gardening with kids and how to make it both fun and educational.
Quick results to keep them interested
Impatient little ones probably won’t be very happy to learn that it will take weeks and weeks to see results from all their hard work. Give them a quick start to gardening with fast-growing seeds like cress, salad and sunflower. They’ll be pleased to see the fruits of their labour so quickly and it’s a great opportunity to explain the growing process.
Get some herbs and veg on the go
Your children are probably feeling pretty pleased with themselves after growing their seeds, so keep the momentum going. Try growing herbs like mint or basil and vegetables like lettuce and tomato. While they’re growing, you can ask your children to think about what they could make with them and plan out some recipes. It’s a great way to show kids where their food comes from and can even encourage fussy eaters to try new things!
Bring their senses to life
The squishy soft soil, the delicate flower petals and the rustling of leaves in the wind are just a few sensory experiences your child can enjoy while gardening with you. Touch, sound, smell, sight and even taste will be right at their (muddy!) fingertips. This can be especially beneficial for children with special needs and / or sensory impairments – encouraging them to explore.
Give them the tools to succeed
Got a 4-year-old trying to lug around mummy’s and daddy’s big spade? Your adult-sized tools may not be that useful for your little ones. Why not treat them to their own collection of mini tools? This way they will be able to hold and use their very own tools – which is great for you child’s sense of independence, fine motor skills and physical movement.
Make a mess
Most kids like to get dirty – the allure of a pile of mud or soil is probably going to be too hard to resist. It’s all part of the fun of gardening, so set aside some ‘gardening clothes’ – some old clothes will work a treat. Just remember to pop on their sun hat and slather on the sun cream if you’re going to be spending a while in the garden.
Keep them engaged
You know what most kids are like, they’ll be engrossed in something one moment and wander off the next, this goes for gardening too. To help them stay interested make sure you ask lots of questions about what they’re doing and explain what you’re doing, too.
Extend the fun of gardening with kids by getting them to draw or paint the plants they’ve grown in different stages. A sunflower is a good bloom to follow! You could even start a scrapbook and stick their drawings and paintings inside to remind them of how far their little gardening careers have progressed.
There’s lots more fun where that came from!
It’s not all about planting herbs, vegetables and pretty flowers, there’s so much more you can do in your garden. Why not get your magnifying glasses out and go for a mini beast hunt, checking them off a list as you do? Got more than one kid to entertain? Make it a race!
You could also make plant labels for your freshly planted greenery – Bob the basil plant will appreciate the recognition.
Last updated:29 April 2020