When I was a child, we were barely ever indoors. And I believe that gardening is really important for children. There’s no doubt that if you make it fun, kids will get involved. So here are my top ways to get them outside – all we need now is some good summer weather!
1 Start a plot
Identify part of the garden that belongs to each child. My father did this for me, my sister and brother. Let your children plant what they want to grow in their own patch. You’ll be amazed how much difference that little bit of ownership will make to them.
2 Make it fun
Encourage them towards plants that have a life outside the garden. Growing pumpkins for Halloween, for example, or an apple tree or peanuts to eat. It’s not just leaves and flowers – it’s all the other things that plants give.
3 Try something new
There are heaps of plants, fruit, veg and colourful shrubs that are a bit different from what’s in the rest of the garden. Don’t be afraid of something that might look a little odd in your design!
4 Grow sunflowers
For younger children, sunflowers are always a winner because they grow so quickly. They are also easy and inexpensive. Get siblings really invested in it by making it a competition to see whose grows bigger! Get sunflower growing tips here.
5 Follow the feathers
Pick up a small pair of binoculars and a birdspotting book. It will encourage kids to take an interest in what’s going on outside. Birds are free pets.
6 Feed the fish
If the kids aren’t too young, add a pond – you can get by with less than two metres sqaure. Introducing frogspawn or goldfish will let them interact with living creatures – pondlife is fascinating. But make sure it’s well covered so no one falls in.
7 Grow your own
We all know kids love to eat, but it’s even more special when they’ve grown it themselves. Fruit goes down well and strawberries are a firm favourite. If you’re struggling to get kids motivated, take them to a pick-your-own farm and grab a couple of strawberry plants on the way home.
8 Start indoors
You can also grab their attention inside the house first. There are fascinating plants such as Venus flytraps, the Dracula plant, the hooded executioner and the deadly dew plant – they’re fascinating plants that eat insects and are guaranteed to be a winner on a bedroom windowsill.
Here’s 10 houseplants you can’t kill for a low-maintenance choice.
9 Save the bees
Simple maths: kids plus creepy crawlies equals hours of fun! Try creating a bee or insect hotel to attract more bugs into the garden. Simply stuff straw into empty pipes or fill a plant pot with pine cones. Or check out my bee house, made from an old terracotta pot!
For something more complex, check out this guide to insect hotels made from recycled materials.
And don’t be squeamish – insects attract birds and protect the garden. A ladybird eats 5,000 greenfly in its lifetime, so everyone wins!
10 Make them work
If you can’t drum up any enthusiasm, make the kids earn their pocket money in the garden. It gives them an incentive to cut the lawn, dig weeds and water plants when it’s hot. It worked on me when I was young!
Older children can develop so many vital skills in the garden – here’s a few tips to make sure they have got the basics sorted.