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Our Favourite Ways to Garden with Children

Gardening is the perfect summer activity to enjoy with your children, regardless of how much outdoor space you have at your disposal! These green-fingered tips will help you get started

 

Gardening can be a solitary experience or one that you share with friends and family. While not all children will have naturally green fingers, spending time in the garden and watching things grow can provide you with invaluable bonding time and fill everyone with a sense of pride.

We know that the summer months can be long ones to fill so if you have any garden space - from window boxes to vast fields - why not find a child-sized plot and start planting?

Use the experience to its fullest and get the children to record what they're doing; let them use a digital camera or smart phone to document their progress and the things they find.

Tips for gardening with kidsFind resilient plants and flowers

The Space

You may have a vast garden or a small window box - either way, the children can get involved. Helping is one thing; however, having their own space will make it even more exciting. Either rope out a small corner or designate a specific box as theirs. If it's theirs and they "own it" they are more likely to want to be involved, and will feel a real sense of pride and accomplishment when things start to grow.

The Soil

Soil conditions vary across the country, so if you are unlucky enough to have really rocky or dry terrain, give your kids a fighting chance by bringing in a bit of top soil or compost. Make sure that the soil is nice and moist, but not over-watered, and get the children to dig through the soil a few times to break it up. They might just be surprised at the living things they find crawling around...

The Plants

A trip to your local garden centre, or even the supermarket, at this time of year is paramount to getting your child's garden started. This is a great time to talk about different weather conditions as well as the planting cycle. You might decide to buy plants that have already been started the first year, and graduate to planting seeds next year. You'll need to decide if this is a flower garden, or whether you're trying to develop an urban farmer!

Choose plants based on your child's age and attention span. It might be that growing a sunflower garden is perfect, or you might want to think about what they can contribute to your family's salad bowl. Make sure that you choose hardy, resilient plants when you're starting out - just in case someone forgets to water them or the British weather doesn't cooperate.

The Watering

Rain water's a useful toolDon't forget to collect rain water to use in the garden. If you don't have a water butt, you can simply use a bucket placed strategically in an open place in the garden, and then start collecting!

Again, you can turn this into a fun project by seeing how much rain water you can collect over the year. If your child likes numbers, you can start comparing your results to last year's and predicting what might happen in the future.

The Tending

Children often get caught up in the excitement of planting and waiting for the end result, so you might have a bit of work on your hands to get them excited about tending to the garden and cultivating their plants. Again, this is a great teaching moment as you can discuss how plants need water and sunlight to grow; this means it's the children's job to water the plants and make sure that weeds aren't taking over!

Doing this often is helpful - even as adults, we get put off when we see a garden full of weeds because it feels like a huge task. However, if your kids set aside ten minutes (depending on the space you've allotted them) a week to check their garden - weeding and watering it - maintenance should be easy.

The Kit

Getting a new tool or uniform for a new sport or hobby can make it seem more exciting. Don't go overboard until you know it's something that they would like to continue doing; however, a small pair of gloves in their favourite colour, or their very own trowel can make all the difference. Once you know it's something they enjoy, it's a great gift idea for the future.

The Wildlife

Plants will inevitably bring wildlife into your garden - from small insects and butterflies, to rabbits and rodents. You may welcome these visitors or you might wish you could banish them, but it's a great chance for your children to see a variety of wildlife on their doorstep.

You can get creative as you find ways to deter your visitors, such as creative fencing (iced lolly sticks, or twigs and string) or detractors (have fun hanging old CDs or making shapes out of foil).

More information

Discover new creepy crawlies

If you're looking for more ideas, check out Gardening with Children, it's a fantastic blog which offers month-by-month suggestions on how you can involve your children in gardening.

 
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