Getting your kids off the couch and into the garden can be a challenge – when they’re little there’s nothing better than making mud pies, but as they grow, so does the call of the TV. There are ways to get your kids involved in the garden no matter what age they are, as long as you have a little patience and some space for them to muck around (literally)!
Who knows, they might develop a passion for plant services and end up working in landscaping or horticulture!
How to Get Your Kids Involved in the Garden:
1. Plant a “Kids Garden”
This is a perfect activity for children over the age of three, as it gives them a bit of free rein and responsibility (without ruining your perfectly manicured flowerbeds).
Simply section off an area – 4ft square should be more than enough – where you’re happy to let your little ones garden. I’d recommend outlining it with bricks or gravel, just to be sure that your freshly planted crocuses won’t get dug up by accident, and make sure the soil is well fertilized so the plants they sow have a chance of surviving.
Now, take them to the garden center! Let them pick out what they like (with some guidance from you on what will actually grow), and get planting! Treating them to a kid’s set of gardening tools and watering can will really encourage enthusiasm, and watering the garden in the evening can be a good winding-down exercise before bed.
Make this into a project, so perhaps every other weekend they can chose a new plant to add to their garden, if they’ve been taking good care of it.
2. Get Crafty!
There are numerous outdoor crafts you can create to get kids interested in the garden.
One of my favorite is making an outdoor bird feeder. Collect pine cones with your little ones on a nature walk, and then when you get home, help them tie loops of twine onto the tops. Roll in peanut butter (the more natural, the better) and birdseed. Hang outside, and see if you can identify what birds come to eat from it!
Painting clay pots can be fun for all ages – just pop down some newspaper and let them loose with some water-based acrylic paints (watch that they’re wearing aprons and old clothes, as acrylic won’t come out easily). Spray with 2 coats of clear acrylic sealant both in and outside the pot to make sure the design lasts as long as possible, then you can start planting them with
seeds or using them as outdoor decorations.
You can even try rock painting!
3. Create a Compost Heap
Making a compost heap with your kids is a great way to help teach them about where our garbage goes after it leaves the house, and how soil is made – and it’ll help you reduce your kitchen and garden waste.
Designate an area for the heap that’s around 3ft square and away from the house. Get the kids to start the pile by layering brown waste (twigs, leaves and hay), green waste (grass trimmings and plant offcuts), kitchen waste, and soil, finishing with another layer of brown waste. Get them to water it down, and turn it occasionally with a small gardening fork or shovel.
Make sure they know what they can and can’t put on the pile – no animal produce other than eggshells, or oily food – otherwise you might attract unwanted visitors.
4. Grow to Eat
One surefire way to get kids interested in vegetables and fruit, as well as the garden, is to get them to grow it.
Get them to choose three foods they’d like to grow, and start a miniature kitchen garden. I’d recommend easy to grow fruit and vegetables you’ll get quick results from – for example tomatoes, okra and lettuce, over anything like avocadoes or produce trees which take years to produce a crop. We all know how impatient kids are!
Get them to look after the growing vegetables; weeding, watering and feeding them – and watch their pride at the first harvest! Do you have any tips for getting kids involved in the garden?
Guest post by Louise Blake, who is an excited first time mum to be, and spends most of her free time getting the nursery ready! She works as a design account manager and loves all aspects of architecture and home design. She’s a huge animal lover, and when not out taking her dog for nice long walks, she can found practising yoga and pilates.