Gardening is the perfect activity for young kids, not only teaching them about the process of germination but allowing them to be a part of nature rather than just an observer. It also teaches them patience, determination, commitment and perhaps most of all helps them to spend quality time outdoors, which, in turn drags them away from the often isolating world of iPads and computer games.
The benefits really are endless and with companies like Ashridge Trees offering a wide array of seeds and plants at a great price, you’ll be able to choose exactly what you want to grow.
Of course, while some children will take to gardening instantly and be thrilled by the idea of throwing around dirt and getting a bit grubby, others might take a little more convincing that gardening isn’t just for pensioners – so here’s how to give your kids green fingers.
- Buy them a pair of wellies
All kids like wellies right? As soon as they pull them on they feel the need to head outdoors, jump in puddles, dig holes and do anything that might get them grubby in some way. Therefore, these accessories are perfect for getting youngsters in the mood for some planting and pruning.
- Put them in comfy clothes
Gardening is a very physical activity, so don’t put them in stylish skinny jeans and expect them to feel comfortable. Instead, get hold of a cheap tracksuit or two, throw on a raincoat and ensure they can stretch, squat and bend with ease.
- Buy them their own gardening tools
If your metal gardening tools are too heavy and awkward for small hands to use, it’s a good idea to buy lighter, plastic equipment that’s more suitable. Child-friendly shovels, buckets, spades and other items are readily available and will help your kids get fully involved.
- Paint plant pots
Youngsters love arts and crafts, so if you’re looking for artistic ways to keep your children entertained, get them to paint plant pots in non-toxic outdoor paint before leaving to dry, filling with soil and adding their favourite plant.
- Grow weird things
Kids love anything a bit unusual or quirky, so why not pique their interest by growing something a bit unusual such as edible flowers or unusual fruits? These can include Japanese wineberries which have a deeper flavour than raspberries and strawberries and are absolutely delicious.
- Grow things they can eat
What child doesn’t love strawberry picking? There’s something magical about going out to the fields and picking those mouth-watering red berries right from the strawberry patch, so wouldn’t it be cool to replicate this experience at home? Strawberry plants are relatively easy to grow or you might decide to plant something else kids can eat such as tomatoes or potatoes.
- Plan ahead
Children like doing things which have a purpose, so how about growing your own pumpkin for Halloween or planting a tall variety of sunflower in April such as an American Giant and watching it grow over summer? The latter can reach up to four metres and kids will surely love keeping an eye on how tall it’s getting.
- Grow a bean plant
If it’s tipping down with rain all winter, fear not, as there are many things you can do indoors that will get your children interested in gardening including growing a bean plant. These can be started off indoors in a jar before being transferred to soil once they have started to grow roots and leaves.
- Get into a routine
Most plants need watering each and every day – especially if they’re being kept indoors or in a shed where they won’t be hydrated by rain – so assign this task to your children to give them a sense of responsibility.
There are many things you can do to make gardening fun and you can also make it educational by explaining the benefits of digging, planting and watering as you go.