How to get green with your little one -
It’s the school holidays and whilst we’ve not quite had the heatwave we were promised, many of us are venturing into the garden with our children to try and keep them entertained! In this blog post, we share our top tips for getting children involved with and enjoying growing and gardening.
- Make it speedy
If your little one is anything like our son, Isaac, they’re probably not the most patient so it’s important to choose something that will germinate and grow quickly. A really great example is cress which can be grown all year round. Cress is so quick and easy to grow – in fact it grows so quickly it can often be eaten just 10 days after sowing! This speed makes it a really great way to show children the relationship between seed and food – a concept which can often become confused in young minds when things take a long time to grow.
Once your cress has grown tall enough just snip the ends off, give it a wash and pop it in a sandwich. Yum! We really like these egg cress heads from Kids do Gardening. Children will love decorating their egg and giving it a stylish hair cut when the cress is ready to eat.
- Get competitive
Who doesn’t love a bit of healthy competition! A great way to engage children when it comes to growing is to have a contest to see who can grow the tallest/ biggest/ heaviest ‘something’. Sunflowers are a great choice, as they germinate well, grow relatively quickly and look beautiful in bloom but you could also see who could grow the biggest cucumber or heaviest squash.
Have a competition as a family, get friends involved or why not have a neighbourhood ‘grow-off’?! Have fun with it and celebrate your achievements with a garden party at the end of your competition or by eating the delicious produce you’ve grown.
- Muck about
The great thing about gardening with children is that you really don’t need a lot of tools. Lots of children love getting their hands mucky so as long as your child doesn’t have any allergies, they can use their hands to get stuck in. There are lots of great kids gardening gloves available too. Check out this cute hedgehog design from the National Trust.
If your little one really loves gardening and wants to learn more you can always invest in a set of child-friendly tools at this stage. Alternatively, if your child really doesn’t enjoy messy play, tools and gloves might help them to feel more comfortable. There are some lovely plastic-free options out there. That said, even with tools, gardening can often be messy so set aside some old clothes that you’re happy to get dirt on. And don’t forget hats and sun cream on hot days.
- Grow with us
If you’d like to get growing with your children but you’re not sure where to start, our Little Sowers range could be just the thing. These kits have been designed specifically for junior growers and are a great activity to do as a family. Each kit contains everything you need to get growing – you just need to add water and a little bit of love!
Our most popular kits are:
- Strawberry sticks – teeny tiny strawberries, perfect for teeny tiny hands. The fruit can be eaten straight from plant after a wash too – perfect!
- Carrot footballs – as the carrots are small and circular, they can be grown in pots and window boxes. Perfect if you don’t have a lot of garden space.
- Don’t stress
This one comes from experience! Gardening with children is supposed to be fun but if you’re not in the mood or your child is having a ‘one of those days’ the joy can quickly disappear. Sometimes there really is no point persevering. Have a break and come back to it a few hours or days later. The great thing about gardening is you can do it all year round and there’s usually quite a wide window in which to get certain jobs done.
If you’re struggling for ideas to engage your little one, there are some fab blogs out there that are jampacked with ideas for gardening with children. The RHS Lets Get Gardening book contains 30 easy and fun gardening projects for children and the RHS website is a fantastic source of information.
Have fun and happy growing!