Sunshine, muddy hands and beautiful flowers. Can you think of a better combination? There is much to be enjoyed when gardening as a family, and together, you can easily get involved in the wonder of nature, even if you don’t have any outdoor space of your own.
From simple tools to stimulated senses, here are some of the ways you can get your children participating in planting, nature and the outdoors.
Simple gardening projects
The best place to start when gardening with your children, is with a planting project. You could try simply planting a packet of seeds, of any type, in a small plant pot in a dedicated spot in the garden or in a window box.
Are you tight on space? Then, cress heads are the way to go. For this activity all you need is a yogurt pot, some cotton wool and kitchen roll, and of course, the cress seeds. You can engage the kids even more by decorating and designing the pots you’ll use. Best of all, this simple but exciting gardening activity doesn’t require any outdoor space, just plenty of water and sunshine somewhere indoors to help your little one’s cress to grow. There’s also the added bonus that you can eat the product of your hard work!
If you do have sufficient space in your garden, how about trying a sunflower competition between family members. Not only can your kids learn about the different stages of a plant, as they watch the sunflowers grow, you can also have fun measuring and seeing which one is the tallest each time you’re in the garden. Again, you can benefit from the free snacks the flower has to offer, as sunflower seeds are super healthy and packed full of nutrients.
Garden projects don’t always have to be about the growing either. Creating a fairy garden or a stick den can get your children to explore their outside environment and the materials within it. Little ones can benefit from creating a smaller scale enchanted garden for fairies, made out of collected stones, twigs and small plants. Your older ones will enjoy the design element of stick dens, as they try to build it out of natural materials and different sized branches.
Stimulating the senses
In order to fully immerse yourselves in gardening, you should try to enhance the different senses when you spend your time outdoors. Adding color through the flowers you plant, or some decorated plant pots, can help your children to engage with what they see in their garden. They can even be involved in creating an attractive display with your chosen plants and flowers.
Touch is an important aspect of a child’s development as they explore and grow. Nature has plenty of tactile materials to take advantage of, but you can actively include plants or elements in your garden that will encourage your kids to explore their surroundings by touch.
Let’s not forget the importance of smell, and the garden is the perfect place to explore this sense. You can create a relaxing area for your little ones, embracing lavender and other scented plants. If you want something livelier, plants that produce seeds or fruit can get your children involved in tasting what they grow, encouraging them to get involved in gardening and learning where their food comes from.
Give them the tools
One way to get your children out and about in the garden is to give them their own set of child-friendly tools. This not only improves their physical movement, but their fine motor skills too, as they learn to grip and maneuver the mini tools. This is also a great way to encourage them to garden independently, and can help if they enjoy mimicking the same activities you partake in.
The littlest ones in your family may need some help and guidance when gardening, but the older children can be given more responsibilities and help with the decision making, in terms of garden layouts and plans. As they grow, their tool kit can even be upgraded to fully-fledged rakes or shears, as they can take on more complex gardening activities. Whatever age your children may be, they are sure to be proud of their efforts as you watch your garden grow into a beautiful space to be enjoyed by all the family.