Spring is finally here, the trees are starting to get their leaves, and you may have even noticed a daffodil or two while you’re out and about. This time of year marks the start of the growing season and is all about nature, which makes now the perfect time to get out in the garden and enjoy all that spring has to offer. Even better, gardening is a great activity to do with the family.
So, if you’re looking for a way to get your kids off their devices and into the great outdoors, or you’d like to plan some eco-friendly, low-cost activities for the weekend and the school holidays, why not try a touch of gardening?
Getting outdoors can be great for wellbeing and can even teach your kids a range of skills, from fine motor skills to responsibility. Plus, your little ones will love playing around in the mud! Ahead of World Earth Day on the 22nd of April, the team at sustainable lifestyle store GreenShop share their tips for getting your kids involved with gardening this spring.
Give them their own plot
Kids love having their own space and giving them their very own gardening plot is a great way to encourage them to get more interested in nature. Their plot doesn’t have to be very big — in fact, it’s best to keep it small so they don’t become overwhelmed with the responsibility. And be sure to put a colourful border around it to act as both decoration and as a boundary. Then, let them choose what kinds of seeds they’d like to plant in their garden bed. Bright, colourful flowers like sunflowers, marigolds, and nasturtiums are all easy to grow, making them perfect for first-time gardeners.
Have a competition
Do your kids still need a bit of convincing? Why not add a bit of healthy competition? Whether it’s by having a sunflower race to see who’s plant grows the tallest, or by seeing who can spot the most bees and butterflies, making gardening into a contest is a great way to get your children feeling more enthusiastic about getting outdoors.
You can even put the competition to good use by offering a prize to whoever can pull the most weeds. Just be sure they know the difference between a weed and a desirable plant before you start! Using a fun competition format can also give your little ones a great sense of achievement, whether they win or come a close second.
Start a vegetable patch
There’s nothing more rewarding than growing your own food, and your kids are bound to love starting their own little vegetable patch. Better yet, this is a great way to teach children about healthy eating and where our food comes from.
Every member of your family can each pick their favourite vegetable to include in your patch, and you can add other easy-to-grow fruits and veggies such as tomatoes, strawberries, and peas. Once they’ve grown, you can then enjoy the fruits of your labour by incorporating them into your family meals. Eating food you’ve grown yourself can feel incredibly rewarding and your little ones will be more likely to eat their greens if they’ve helped grow them from scratch.
Befriend your local wildlife
Your garden is full of tiny creatures that your little ones will love investigating. So, why not encourage wildlife to visit by creating a garden just for them. Consider planting beebombs: small wildflower seed balls which can be scattered into your soil. No gardening skill is required, so they’re perfect for little ones.
You could also put out bird feeders and insect hotels. You can buy these pre-made or in kits to assemble yourself. But, if you’d really like to get stuck in, consider making your own from bits and pieces around your garden and your home, such as twigs, toilet roll tubes, and empty bottles.
Make a fairy garden
Add a touch of magic and whimsy to your gardening tasks by enlisting some little helpers to grow your own fairy garden. These are miniature gardens grown in a plant pot or any other container, especially for small, enchanted friends to live in.
They can be very easy to make and are a great way to recycle objects you find around your house. For example, you can recycle various containers such as an old washing up bowl or even a teacup for your fairy garden. Then, add miniature plants like succulents and moss, and decorate with shiny stones.
Don’t forget the fairy’s house either! You can upcycle old jars by decorating them with twigs, moss, and stones before adding a small wooden door. Feel free to let your imagination run wild here to create the most beautiful fairy house for your mini friends.
“After a long, cold winter, we’re all ready to brush off the cobwebs and get outdoors. Spring is the perfect time to start tending to your garden, as everything begins to grow and flourish. Not only can you brighten the space up with some beautiful seasonal flowers, but you can also help get it ready for the summer months. And, if the whole family chips in, the work will be done in no time.
“Getting outdoors is great for children. As well as being an enjoyable pastime, it can improve wellbeing and is the perfect opportunity to teach them about the importance of our environment. While you’re out working in the garden, why not transform it into a fun learning experience? Whether you’re growing your own fruit and veg or adding a wildflower patch, exploring your garden is the ideal time to show your kids how important it is for us to take care of our planet.”
— James Partridge from GreenShop