If you’re struggling to get your kids out and about in the fresh air, then why consider tempting them out into the garden?
These days with screens seemingly in every direction we turn, it’s hardly a surprise that we are finding it more and more challenging to prise our kids away from their games, mobiles and consoles.
In this blog, we’ve put together some of our top tips to get your young ones out in the garden.
Give Them a Space of Their Own
It’s hugely important to give your little ones a nice patch, that they can be proud of. Giving them a overgrown patch full of weeds is bound to put them off straight away.
Giving them a patch that’s too large creates too much work and too smaller section limits creative possibilities.
Ensure the space enjoys daily sunlight and fertile soil to ensure whatever gets planted can grow with ease.
How to Get Started
Children approach any challenge with a completely fresh point of view, and their plans for their own little slice of the garden you’ve given them may surprise you.
Some may wish to keep things simple and traditional with colourful flowers or vegetables, but others might want to create something aesthetically pleasing or a patch which benefits wildlife such as insects, birds and small mammals.
Once you know where their thought process is, you can then offer them the materials they need for the job in hand.
Choosing Plants & Vegetables
Find plants that are hardy and not too expensive in garden centres, nurseries and at car-boots. Get your kids to come along too, and they can choose the ones they like the look of.
Children will prefer plants that turnaround quick results, such as fuchsias, late-sown bedding plants, lavenders and herb plants.
Encouraging your children to work with you or their siblings is a great way to impart the values of teamwork and comradery.
Siblings are often at loggerheads, but by giving them a common goal with rich reward, it can often give your children the push they need to work together.
Size Appropriate Tools
One of the very best investments you can make is kid-sized equipment. Gloves, trowels, spades and wheelbarrows are perfect and make it much easier for the kids to go about their business.
It also allows you to provide the children with something they need to look after, so they don’t get lost or go rusty.
Discuss Your Haul
One of the best ways to keep your kids engaged in the process is to ask them, in the case of fruits or vegetables, how they’d like to use their bounty.
This is not only an excellent way for the kids to enjoy the fruits (literally) of their labour, but it’s a good way to get them into the kitchen too.
There are numerous opportunities to teach children about plants, remedies, environmental gardening, and nutritionwhen pottering in the garden.
Stimulation of the Senses
Planting in the garden is a fantastic opportunity to stimulate your child’s developing senses of sight, sound, touch, taste and smell. Soft leaves, colourful flowers and green bushes along with the vibrant colours and strong scents can all create a positive gardening experience.
These kinds of plants can be a great way to benefit children with special needs and sensory impairments too.
As we’ve mentioned, sized appropriate tools are a good investment. However, for younger children, this is to help encourage their developing motor skills with something they can use on their own.
Little watering cans, rakes, trowels and spades can really help your child build independence as well as improve their physical and mental development.
Keeping Your Child Interested
While your little one may be completely focused on gardening with you, it’s important to remember that your child has a short attention span, and you won’t be able to get them engrossed for more than a few minutes at a time.
This is why it’s such a good idea to have a few little tricks up your sleeve to keep your child interested for longer, such as:
- Get your kid to make plant labels to mark where and what seeds have been planted
- Go on the lookout for snails, worms and insects
- Explain how these little creepy-crawlies are good for the soil and how the plants grow.
- Allow them to gently hold and inspect the bugs
- Create a compost heap and explain what can and can’t go in it