Easy gardening tips for children

Monday, September 23rd, 2013

Gardening is a wonderful activity for children of all ages. It teaches them about nature, it helps them to understand the growth cycle of all living things, and it gets them outdoors in the fresh air.

If you have a garden (or even just a patio or balcony with the space for a few pots), encourage your child to join in the gardening with you. Here are some activities you might like to try:

ג€¢ Grow vegetables

Few children aren’t naturally fascinated to discover where our food comes from. If you possibly can, involve them in every single aspect of growing vegetables ג€“ allow them to plant the seeds and care for them, then help transfer the seedlings outside in a pot, grow bag, raised bed or vegetable patch. Let your child be responsible for regular watering as the vegetables grow, and show them how to attach climbing plants such as tomatoes to stakes to help support their weight. When the vegetables are ripe and ready, let your child pick them, help prepare a dish and eat them! Few activities offer such a full experience of the life cycle, and even if you don’t have the space to grow vegetables outside, you can always grow herbs or cress indoors.

Good vegetables to try: tomatoes, courgettes, peppers, cucumbers, carrots, and beans

ג€¢ Plant sunflowers

Sunflowers are brilliant ג€“ watch your children’s faces light up as they realise their little tiny plant is growing far taller than they are! As their name suggests, sunflowers thrive best in full sun, after the last frosts of the winter have disappeared. They should ideally be planted against a wall for support. First let your child help prepare the soil by loosening it gently with a garden tiller. Then plant the seeds together at a depth of 1-3.5″, adding a little compost to improve the nutrients of the soil. After that it’s simply a case of watering regularly and watching the little shoot grow, and grow, and growג€¦

ג€¢ Plant winter bulbs

Planting bulbs in winter helps teach your child about the passing seasons and how spring brings your garden back to life. A fun Christmastime activity is to decorate a plain plant pot with stickers, foam shapes and tinsel, then plant bulbs inside. Water regularly and enjoy the first blooms of spring with hyacinths, daffodils and tulips. Outdoor bulbs could also include snowdrops, crocuses and irises.

ג€¢ Tidy up

Your child probably doesn’t associate ג€˜tidying up’ with a fun activity, but perhaps that’s because they’ve never helped rake up autumn leaves into an enormous pile which can then form the basis to a bonfire. What could be more fun on a chilly autumn day that to wrap up warm, throw a few leaves around then stand around a glowing bonfire, drinking hot chocolate and toasting marshmallows? (Obviously take great care over your child’s safety regarding the fire itself.) The other method that really demonstrates to your child the circle of life is the use of a compost bin or heap. Your child will be fascinated to see how all the dead leaves and branches eventually compact down into a nutritious soil that can be used to fertilise new seeds.

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