Gardening with Children | Activities to encourage little green fingers
Embrace the great outdoors after a year of having to spend far too much time indoors. A great way to while away some time in the garden is getting your child involved in the gardening. While it may seem an overwhelming prospect at first, there are simple steps you can take to garner their interest and keep them motivated to join in with taking care of the garden.
From choosing seeds to planting and tending to them with their own tools, there are a number of ways children can become excited about gardening. Whilst spending time outdoors, you have the perfect opportunity to talk about the different wildlife that can be found there and the importance of each of the species to keeping our earth beautiful.
Read also our feature on Summer Garden Activities for Pre-schoolers to make sure you're making the most out of the great outdoors this summer.
Offering your child the choice of which plant, fruit or vegetable seeds they would like to grow gives them a sense of ownership from the outset. There is so much excitement when visiting the garden centre to choose their seeds, pots and compost that encourages them to maintain a high level of interest in the activity.
Handing over the care for a particular area of the garden, a flowerbed or a vegetable patch to your child fosters enthusiasm and is a wonderful early lesson in responsibility. They will benefit from learning throughout the process of planting, nurturing and harvesting. Asking children to carry out tasks is most often met with delight and an ongoing responsibility gives your child the positive message that you trust them and believe they are capable of it.
Planting and caring
Once they have chosen their seeds, set your child up with everything they need to get them planted in pots or a chosen spot in the garden. They will need gardening tools as well as the compost or potting mix. You can then explain how often they will need to water them and any pruning that they might need to carry out as the seeds or seedlings grow.
Set your child up with their own small set of gardening equipment that is just for them to use. This will encourage their sense of responsibility and commitment to taking care of the garden. They will be excited to make use of their personal tool set, helping you with any gardening tasks they can if they provide the opportunity to use them.
Growing into a responsible and keen gardener isn’t just about the plants and vegetables, it is also an opportunity to take care of the wildlife that frequently visit your garden. There are many ways we can do this with children to get them excited about the subject. You could make your own minibeasts hotel, build a bee bath or a hedgehog hotel. Not only does this help to sustain our natural wildlife but it provides your child with another point of interest in the garden that they can visit and attend to whenever they wish.
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