Hooray! It looks like Spring is finally here so its time to get out into the garden with the kids! Even if you don’t have green fingers, there are some really lovely, simple activities you can do at home to help teach little ones about growing and gardening. Here are our top tips and activity ideas for gardening with kids:
If this is your first gardening project, especially with the children, keep it small and easy to manage. Don’t dig up half your garden for a vegetable plot or a raised flower bed you just know will look fab in high summer. Save that for next year, perhaps. For now, all you need are a few seeds, a few pots, some compost and some gardening tools. Let the kids have their own tools to as this will make the whole process not only easier, but more fun for them as their involvement won’t be too limited.
Choose seeds that are fast growers
Lots of children love to learn how plants grow, and to help adults sow seeds in special pots ready for the summer. But it can be disappointing when nothing happens straight away! For this reason, its a good idea to choose plants that are notoriously fast growers. Look out for:
Nasturtium- these are fast growing plants that do not require much attention. The flowers are bright and edible too so you can have some fun with them!
Beans- broad beans are wonderful to grow with children and not just because they grow fast. Read Jack and the Beanstalk before you plant them and watch as your own beanstalk tries to reach the sky! These can also be grown in clear jam jars so that your little ones can see the roots emerge from the seeds.
Cress. Decorate a plastic cup with a face and sow the cress seeds onto cotton wool inside the cup. The cress will grow in a matter of days to make a wonderful head of hair!
Choose easy gardening projects
Sunflowers are a wonderful starter project for children. Each week you can measure how tall the sunflower is growing and perhaps start a competition with friends? If you’re feeling creative, why not try something like this wonderful Sunflower fort? Perhaps not as simple as transferring seedlings into the garden as you normally would, but it looks fun! The key is to make sure that you choose plants that are fairly tough and will withstand a child’s handling.
Make sure you tell your little one what a plant needs to grow and give them the task of choosing the right spot for the plant to grow, and of course the watering! Gardening is fantastic for teaching children about life cycles and growing, and also for teaching responsibility too.
Some creative gardening projects to try
There are so many ways to make gardening with children fun! Here are some of our favourite activities:
Plant a fairy garden. This one is grown in egg cartons, which you can decorate before hand.
Kitchen scrap gardening. This activity not only uses up the ends of vegetables in the kitchen, but teaches children how new plants can be made from the bits we throw away therefore recycling our scraps! Carrot tops are the best vegetables to try first.
Make a Sweetpea teepee! This is a super idea and very easily done in the garden. You can also use runner beans, clematis and any other climber for this too.
Plant a wild flower maze. Sprinkle wild flower seeds into shapes, patterns or even letters so that when they grow the children can play and butterflies and bees are attracted to the garden. Seedball do a great kit that you can make yourself at home.
If you’re planning on gardening with kids this year, we’d love to hear from you. Please do share your photos with us on Twitter! @OfficeCreche