Get Out in the Garden with the Kids – Read These Great Gardening Ideas for Children from GardenLines
Kids adore playing outside, or more specifically playing in the dirt. Getting into the garden with your children is a great way to spend some quality time together whilst getting some exercise and fresh air at the same time. It’s an activity that needn’t cost the earth and your children and garden can reap many rewards.
We’ve got some great gardening ideas for children for you below. We’re sure you’ll find some fun things to try with your children no matter how big or small the space you have to work with is.
The Caterpillar Show
Children will be amazed by the transformation a caterpillar goes through to become a butterfly so why not get them a front row seat for it? All you need for this is an empty clean jar, a caterpillar and a plant.
Firstly, you’ll need to find a caterpillar (hint – look for damaged leaves). When you find one carefully place it in the jar with some of the plant you found him on as this is probably what he eats. The caterpillar will need to be fed a plant that it likes (they’re fussy little things).
Encourage your children to check on the caterpillar each day to make sure he doesn’t need any more of the plant to feed on. There is no need for air holes in the jar if the lid is being taken off each day.
Now you must play the waiting game. You’ll see the caterpillar probably gets a bit plumper before then turning into a chrysalis (he may look dead at this point, but he’s not). Continue to wait patiently and before you know it your caterpillar will have emerged from the chrysalis as a butterfly. The butterfly can now be released into the garden.
For Small Gardens or Limited Space
If you don’t have a very big garden, or perhaps no garden at all, then that doesn’t mean you and your children can’t grow something together. Herbs need very little room to grow and are relatively cheap to buy. You can then use these herbs when cooking with the children too.
Small plants can be grown in almost anything. Consider planting and growing seeds in anything from jam jars to small window boxes to old welly boots. Also see Grow Some Hair and Grow Some Veg if you don't have much garden space available.
Grow Some Hair
Why not create your own head with its own grass hair? All you need to do this is an old pair of tights or a pop sock, some grass seed, a mug and some compost.
Firstly, snip off one foot/half leg of the pair of tights (leave this step if you’re using a pop sock). Tip some grass seed into the bottom of the tights/pop sock. Then tip in some compost and try to make a round-ish head shape then secure with an elastic band. Don’t snip off any excess tights/pop sock, you need this.
Your head can now be decorated (remember it’s got to be able to sit in the rim of a mug or jar soon). Eyes, noses and mouths can be painted on. You could also pinch out areas of the compost and tie off with elastic bands to make ears and noses too.
Once your head is complete it can be placed into your mug/jar. Your mug/jar will need about an inch of water in the bottom of it. Next, balance your head in the mug. The excess of the tights/pop sock should dip into the water. This water eventually soaks upwards and waters the grass. Your head should start growing some grass hair within a week!
Grow Your Name
Children will love this one! Give them a little spot in the garden where they can scratch out their name in the soil. Next add some seeds into the letters and water. Then play the waiting game whilst their name grows!
Attract Bees and Butterflies
If your children are more interested in wildlife as opposed to plants then why not plant some bee and butterfly-friendly plants and watch them draw in the bees and butterflies?
Give Children Their Own Space
Assigning a small space of the garden to your children for them to care for and look after is a great way to teach them about being responsible. It is up to them to care for their part of garden and water their own plants. Remember to remind them how beautiful it will look if they love and care for it but that they need to patient too.
Grow Some Veg
This is incredibly rewarding for children. It may even encourage them to eat a few more veggies if they’ve grown them! Different vegetables have different growing requirements but you’ll be able to find something that will grow in anything from a large area of ground to a small pot.
Go On A Bug Hunt
There are plenty of bug factsheets online; these can be used in conjunction with your outdoor space (or any outdoor space for that matter). Work with your children to seek out bugs in their natural habitat. Instil the idea in your children that the bugs need to be in their own habitat as that’s where they’ll thrive and be happiest. This keeps them out of jars perched along your kitchen windowsill. Encourage your children to look for signs of bugs (like damaged leaves) or consider the places they’re likely to live (under stones or near food sources). Compare your findings with your factsheets. They’ll love it!
Tips for Enjoying Time in the Garden with Children
• Encourage good health and safety – just the basics like hand washing after playing in the garden and to be careful of anything sharp (or anything that stings)!
• Be prepared for mess! It’s inevitable that there will be soil everywhere and that the children will be covered in muck. Have old clothes and a broom at the ready
• Remind children that gardening needs patience! If your children are particularly young growing something like grass or cress is a sure fire way to keep their attention. These don't take long to plant or grow.
• Choose hardy plants – they’re less likely to die or suffer from any manhandling
If you or the children get fed up of gardening then here at GardenLines we have a great selection of play equipment on offer that will keep everyone entertained outside!