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Gardening with Kids: Turning Those Little Fingers Green

This last year has seen us all developing interests that we might never have explored prior to lockdown. One of the UK’s most favoured hobbies is gardening, with 322 million more plants bought in 2020 than the year before.

So, with the weather improving and restrictions easing, now is the perfect time to pick up your gardening tools and introduce your pastime to the children in your family.

It doesn’t matter whether you’ve always been an avid gardener or if your green fingers are still sprouting, consider making some wonderful memories with your little people using these top tips for gardening with kids.

Gardening With Kids

Top 10 Tips for Gardening with Kids

1. Wait for Good Weather

As is probably the same for most of us, gardening for kids is much more appealing when the sun is shining.  Because you are introducing them to a brand-new experience, make their first contact with the hobby a good one to remember.

Press pause on your day of gardening ideas until there aren’t any threatening rainclouds.

2. Get Them Their Own Gardening Tools

There is no better way to entice a small child into something new than with a gift. A quick look online will give you a wide variety of children’s gardening tools to choose from.

Maybe source a small box you can keep all of their dedicated gardening tools in so that it feels like a special occasion when they get them out.

Also, on a rainy day when gardening is off the cards, consider letting them decorate their gardening box.

3. Vegetable Garden Ideas

By creating a small vegetable garden patch, you will be able to get your child having fun outdoors while also learning about healthy food. Win win.

Plant a mixture of vegetable seeds which include ones that your child already likes, as well as ones they might have never tasted before, and watch their excitement grow alongside the produce.

When the vegetables are ready to harvest, have a tasting session together or create a yummy dinner with them.

Gardening With Kids

4. Create Their Own Kids’ Garden

If you have the space, give your child their very own kids’ garden.

Allow them to have free rein of a little patch of land and this will teach them how to decide what to grow, what they need to do to care for their plants and how often they should tend to them.

It also puts them in good stead for their own allotment plot in future!

5. Child-Friendly Garden Plants

Choose plants that are resilient, easy to care for and non-toxic so they can co-exist alongside your little ones and survive in a kid’s garden.

The following plants are manageable and can be found in most garden centres.  They all have a reasonably long flowering period and can cope with being handled by not-so-delicate fingers: Lavateras, Cosmos, Aquilegia, Nasturtiums and Geraniums.

6. Children’s Garden Design Ideas

Another way to prepare for gardening with children when the weather is not on your side is to put together your children’s garden design ideas.

Have a crafty afternoon of designing what your ideal garden will look like. What coloured flowers can you plant? What kind of animals will visit? Can you plant a pattern?

Gardening With Kids

7. Use Bright Colours

Capture your child’s attention by filling your garden with beautifully bright ornaments and pots. Go shopping and let them choose their favourite garden accessories or buy some paint and let them create their own.

Smaller pots, whether they are terracotta or plastic, can be easily filled and tended to. Make sure they have drainage holes in the base, fill the pot three-quarters full of compost, place the flowers within, fill around the roots with more compost and water. Keep it in a sunny, sheltered spot.

8. Create a Bug Hotel

A bug hotel is one of the most simple yet exciting gardening ideas for kids. All it needs is an open-sided box and a bunch of materials to fill it with which your children can easily hunt for in your garden.

An open-ended log would make a nice shelter for solitary bees, while stones, twigs and dried grass will attract ladybirds, woodlice and possibly mice or toads.

Have a peek inside every now and then to see if a creature has settled into its new home.

9. Create a Grass-Head

For this, you will need: old tights, compost, grass seeds, an elastic band, a pot and decorative items such as googly eyes and felt.

Put 2-3 generous tablespoons of grass seeds in the bottom of your tights and add a good amount of compost on top until you have a good-sized ball, then tie the tights. Pinch a “nose” in the centre of the ball by twisting the middle of the parcel and secure it with an elastic band.

Glue the googly eyes and felt mouth on, and once dry, place in a pot that is half-filled with water. The tights will soak the water up into the earth and will keep your grass head’s hair growing, haircut after haircut!

10. Research How Gardening Helps Animals

When gardening with kids, teach them about all the animals that are grateful for different aspects of our gardens.

Tell them that cosy, unkept areas are favoured hideouts for hedgehogs, teach them about bees, pollination, and their colonies, and explain what kind of environment provides the best home for frogs and toads.

Gardening With Kids

We hope that these tips allow you to create some happy memories when gardening with the children in your family. We’d love to see the pictures of you enjoying quality time together this summer, so be sure to tag us in your images on social media.

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