If you’re looking to grow your child’s curiosity for the great outdoors and gardening this summer, then it’s as simple as throwing open the doors and heading out into the back yard (or clearing space on the windowsill and adorning it with plant pots.)
Introducing kids from an early age to the wonders they can discover in the garden will only encourage their enthusiasm, love for a healthy lifestyle and spending time outside. It’s a much better solution than having them inside watching television all summer holiday and also provides them with lots of stories to tell their friends when they do go back to school. We are currently watching a family of Robins who are nesting in our hedging.
Bold, fun colours in the garden will keep any child happy, and the garden looking inviting. Encourage artistic skills and get them to paint their favourite bright flower in the garden. Look for big, beautiful and easy to grow plants in a variety of colours to place around the border of the garden, Perennials from Spalding Bulb have a huge range.
Kids love nothing more than making something their own and relish the satisfaction of creating something independently. Allocate a small section of the garden for them, bordered off with a small picket face painted in a bright colour. Let them go to town planting easy to grow seeds, such as sunflowers and marigolds and watch their excitement as the first shoots start to push through the soil.
A special gardening kit, put together just for them, could also encourage them to do more. Wellies and gloves, a small spade and trowel and a watering can will make them feel the part as they follow you around outside.
Grow your own
There’s nothing more satisfying than growing your own fruit or veg and then dishing it up for family and friends. Growing simple fruit and vegetables, such as runner beans or strawberries, shouldn’t take too long and soon you can be praising your little one for all their hard work and tasting the reward together. For example, once the strawberries are grown make a nice big Eton Mess with meringue or a simple bowl of strawberries and cream to enjoy together outside.
Nothing amazes children more than experiencing nature first-hand and there are lots of ways that you can encourage wildlife, such as birds and insects, to visit your garden. A fun activity to do together is to make a bird feeder, all you need is peanut butter, bird seed, a toilet roll tube and some string. Get the kids to sit and watch the birds as they come down to feed and try to name them all.
Catching and drawing insects you find in the garden is also a great way to pass the hours and at when it gets dark you can take a white sheet outside, shine a lamp on it and count how many moths and bugs pay you a visit.
Plant pots, stones, pebbles, furniture – the possibilities are endless when it comes to jazzing up everyday objects for the garden. If you are growing your own fruit and veg why not create plant markers by painting stones from the garden?
Don’t limit yourself to your own outdoor space though; go take a look round a public garden for some inspiration and a fun day out. RHS gardens are beautifully kept and available for the public to enjoy, you can pay per visit or buy a membership if you plan to take a look around a few times a year. Click here to find your nearest garden and for information on events taking place.
There’s really nothing else left to do now but put those wellies on, pick up that spade and head outside with the kids in tow!