Primary Times guide to… Gardening with Children!
Gardening comes naturally to children. Endlessly curious, children are often delighted to learn first hand where the food on their plate comes from and how big plants grow from tiny seeds. Allowing them to get outdoors and get their hands dirty has incredible benefits, and there is no better time to start exploring than National Children’s Gardening Week 2019, which runs from 25th May – 2nd June. To help spark your children’s enthusiasm, we have outlined our five favourite activities to get the kids gardening.
- Start with Seeds
A great way to introduce your children to gardening is simply by planting a packet of seeds on your windowsill. Use an eggbox as your tray and fill each compartment with potting mix and seeds of your choice. Children aren’t always blessed with patience, so produce like radishes, lettuce, basil and salad cress will all grow very quickly and begin to show results within just a few days.
- Create a Pinecone Bird Feeder
Attract different bird species into your garden by combining mixed seeds, lard, cheese and raisins in a mixing bowl. Tie a string to a pinecone and cover it with your sticky mix, ensuring you fill all the holes. Pop in the fridge until set and hang from the different branches in your garden. Hanging some near a window can be a great way to get a close-up view of your flying friends.
- Make a Fairy Garden
Fairy gardens are an easy gardening activity for kids that will make their imagination run wild. Fill a wooden box, planter or trough with soil and choose a few different plants for the fairies to play around in. Some of our favourites for May and June include pansies, geraniums and hyacinths. Once this is done, encourage your children to choose a variety of mini props and accessories including marbles, pebbles, twigs, lollipop sticks and, of course, the fairies themselves.
- Build a Bee B&B
Bees numbers are falling, so by building them a home you are both having fun gardening with your children and helping the bee populations. You can make one of these easily by cutting the top off a large plastic bottle with scissors (ensure you do this for your children). Gather some bamboo sticks and cut them to the same length as your container, then pack them tightly into your plastic bottle. Using different widths of bamboo is best, as the bees can choose between the different sizes. Attach a hook to the back of your bee house, place in full sun at least one metre off the ground, and simply watch and wait!
- Grow a Hanging Harvest
Not everyone has space for a full vegetable patch in their garden, so the humble hanging basket can be a great way to save space, but still pack in the produce. Encourage your children to get their hands messy and fill a lined basket with compost. Put your chosen plants into the compost, and ensure the kids check the basket every day and water regularly. Cherry tomatoes, strawberry plants, chives, basil, parsley and lettuce will all produce loads of tasty food throughout the summer months if cared for well.
To find loads more fun gardening activities to do with your children, visit www.childrensgardeningweek.co.uk