Getting your little ones out into the garden over the summer isn’t a difficult task – with paddling pools up, outdoor toys out and barbeques planned, it can often be harder to get them to come back inside.
But with their fun and games comes the toll on your garden, as the lawn is flooded with pool water and potted plants are used as goalposts.
Forget resigning yourself to just replica plants in the house, if you’ve got more toys on your lawn than flowers in your flowerbeds, it might be time to convince your kids that growing plants is actually a lot more fun than ripping them up!
Here are ten simple tips to get your kids enjoying gardening.
- Get them their own tools. One easy way to get your children excited about gardening is to buy them a cheap set of colourful kid’s tools. Most sets include a miniature trowel, fork and spade or rake that are designed for little hands and are safe for them to use, so you won’t worry about them having any accidents.
- Give them a patch to garden in. Being able to tend to their own little area of garden is great fun for little ones, as well as teaching them responsibility. Let them choose the plants they want to grow (a little advising might be needed!) and encourage them to tend to it a little each day after school.
- Grow fruit and veg. Growing foods is particularly rewarding for kids, as they watch the plants flourish and the harvest take shape. It also has the benefit of broadening their knowledge of where our food comes from, as well as getting them to try different vegetables.
- Let them loose with the hose. Is there anything kids like more than mucking around in water on a hot day? Pop them in a bathing suit and let them water the garden – and in between the water fights you might even be able to explain to them why plants need water in the first place!
- Find those creepy crawlies. It will come to no surprise to most parents that kids are a bit obsessed with crawlies. Dig for worms and track snails, while letting your little one know which are ‘good’ bugs and which are ‘bad’.
- Create a butterfly garden. Every child is fascinated with butterflies, so help them plant an area of the garden with plants that attract them, like lavender and snapdragons.
- Create a compost heap. A compost heap can be a cool project for slightly older kids, as they get to witness the chemical reactions during decomposition that make the heap hot and steamy, and learn about the ‘cycle of life’!
- Prune away! All children love the satisfaction of cutting things up, so arm older ones with a small pair of secateurs and some kid-sized gardening gloves and set them on a bush. Make sure you supervise to avoid injuries (or your favourite shrub being reduced to just the roots).
- Hold a weeding competition. Weeding is no one’s favourite activity, but you can make it fun for kids. Simply set a time span, give them a pair of gloves, and let them pull away – whoever gets the most weeds pulled up wins. Just make sure that they’re not pulling up any plants you don’t want them to, or anything that might hurt them, like brambles or stinging nettles.
- Make weed soup. With all those weeds you’ve pulled up, why not get your little one to help you stick them all in a bucket or large plastic rubbish bin, cover them with water and leave them to steep for a few days. This makes a great fertiliser, and while your kid is busy brewing the concoction you can explain the benefits of feeding plants.
Do you have any more tips to get your kids gardening? Let us know in the comments!
Estelle Page is a keen gardener who is also mum to two tearaways! She is on a mission to keep our kids occupied and our gardens looking great – though if you haven’t got ‘free labour’, then she recommends Ambius to look after your plants instead. Image source.