Five Tips For Gardening With KidsSpring has arrived and one of our favourite family activities for this time of year is to get out into the garden and prepare it for the forthcoming year. Both Bud and LM love to help their Dad with digging and planting and generally making our outside space fun to be in. I've been asking a few of my fellow bloggers for their tips on helping kids to enjoy gardening and I've put together a few of them for you.
1. Let them plant their own seeds - Tami at Mummy of Two got Little Mr A involved with planting sunflower seeds at home and he loved this activity. Bud also loves to plant seeds, whether at home or with his Grandad who has an annual sunflower growing competition for all of the little grandchildren. It's really fun to check on the sunflowers' progress every time we visit their grandparents. Ian likes to grow vegetables in our garden and Bud gets very excited about planting his favourites and waiting for them to grow. He spent Sunday planting our latest delivery of seeds from Suttons, the only difficulty is getting him to understand that they don't grow very quickly!
2. Encourage them to care for the wildlife in the garden - If your children are interested in animals but less keen on getting their hands dirty then caring for our furry and feathered friends can be an excellent way of enjoying your outside space together. Over 40 and a Mum to One made homemade bird feeders with her son. These are a simple but effective way of encouraging children to get outside and to improve their awareness of the world around them and the fact that we need to care for wildlife. Bee hotels and insect houses can also be very effective for this.
3. Let your children explore with their senses - the garden is a great place for sensory play and there are so many different ways for children to stimulate all of their senses outside. Jen from My Mummy's Pennies got out in to the garden with her children and they explored using touch and smell using the plants in the garden and a watering can. You can extend this further by planting to stimulate the senses - herbs are a great way of doing this and children will love smelling plants like lavender and thyme, or tasting the first strawberries of the season straight from the plant.
4. Gardening as gifts - planting in home decorated pots is a lovely way of giving a really personal gift. I love these Terracotta pots from Mama Smiles and I think they would be perfect for Spring gifts. You could plant a hyacinth bulb in one and even stencil a message or the recipients name using the sponge painting technique. Perfect for grandparents, or friends and relatives. We regularly make cress pots at our toddler group and these are super simple - simply take a plastic drinks cup, decorate with stickers and fill with cotton wool. Wet the cotton wool thoroughly and sow cress seeds on top. They are pretty and grow quickly, a bonus for impatient toddlers! Older children and adults might want to try planting in eggshells, you can even dye them to match your home decor, Made in Pinterest shows you how.
5. Early Science - getting into the garden is a great way of teaching children about the world and early Science. Kids love to understand how things work and how seeds grow into plants is something that can be discussed with even small children. Nurture Store has a great science experiment showing how green beans grow and iGame Mom shares nine different activities that can be carried out with toddlers upwards. Whether comparing the size of seeds, to dissecting them and watching them grow, most children will be fascinated to carry out the experiments.
Do you garden with your children? How do you get them involved in the garden?