Affordable and fun, gardening is an excellent way for families to spend time together. Children adore being outdoors, sharing precious time with their parents or grandparents, and there is plenty to engage them in the garden. Even smaller ones can be given their own special children’s gardening set and get involved digging the dirt and spotting insects, while older kids often enjoy planning their own patch of earth and the edibles or flowers they’d like to cultivate.
We’ve put together five inspiring activities that are perfect for educating and entertaining children in the garden.
- Planting seeds
Planting seeds can be a fiddly business, so choose larger varieties like sunflowers, sweet peas and marigolds. It’s also worth investing in a set of children’s gardening tools, which are specifically designed for smaller hands. If you don’t have a lot of space, raised planters, boxes or pots are ideal.
- Learning about insects
Children’s gardening should be about getting down to the nitty-gritty. Studying bugs and their habitats is endlessly fascinating, so arm yourselves with collecting jars and a magnifying glass and get out there! Butterflies hold particular appeal with their brightly coloured, fast-moving wings. Why not create a raised bed of the wild flowers that attract British butterflies to make sure there’s plenty for the little ones to see?
Fast-growing fruits and vegetables are best for young gardeners, especially those they’ve already tried and liked. Consider planting radishes, lettuces or carrots. Courgettes, which have a wonderful giant flower top, are also a good choice. Most children have a sweet tooth so fruits are always popular. Strawberries are an easy choice but look out for the slugs and snails! The best bit is the harvest so make sure you wait until the kids are around before gathering the crop.
- Caring for wildlife
Most children love birds and animals so the creatures living in your garden are a great way to get them involved. Set up a birdhouse and make a record of the species that come to visit each season. Or, if you’re feeling more adventurous, how about a bat box or beehive?
- Making compost
Armed with children’s gardening gloves, aprons and a love of getting extremely dirty, all kids will enjoy making compost. It’s also a great way to teach them about recycling, new growth and decay. Get them into the habit of collecting compostable kitchen and garden waste in a bin. With a little soil added, the mulch will soon be ready to feed your garden and its plants. To make things even more yucky (and fun!), why not make a wormery and teach the children how these tiny animals will help to break down the organic matter they’ve collected?
Once you get started and ignite that green fingered spark in your little ones, you’ll soon find that the garden is an endless source of fun and inspiration.