It’s a sad fact that nowadays children tend to spend far too much time indoors fixed to screens and think that carrots come from Tesco!
If the little ones in our lives could be tempted out into the garden, they’d soon realise there's fun and excitement to be had just outside their backdoor, and they could even get the satisfaction of growing their own carrots from seeds.
A recent study has revealed that there has been a 29% increase in millennials that are taking up gardening as a pastime, but wouldn’t it be great if we could get the younger children involved from an earlier age?
Here are our top tips for helping to encourage those little green fingers...
1. Give them their own patch
Provide a sunny spot just for them the start their gardening experience, where they can plant seeds and watch them sprout. It will keep them entertained and also give them a sense of responsibility for looking after their own area and individual seedlings. It’s best to choose easy-to-grow seeds such as salad leaves, peas, or tomatoes. Also, flowers and herbs such as mint and marigolds can be a simple and satisfying addition too.
2. Let them pick their own seeds
Let them choose which seeds they’d like to plant (in their special section of the garden) and they’ll be much more likely to get involved. You could make suggestions of things you know will interest them most, whether it’s their favourite berry to eat or something a bit more unusual like ‘mouse melons’ that are easy to grow – kids will have fun nurturing their own fruit and veg.
3. Make it fun with a race
The sunflower race is always a firm favourite with children. Everyone in the family can have a go and it’s a race for the tallest sunflower! Alternatively, runner beans are great too as fast growing plants that will zoom up a bamboo cane.
4. The right tools for the job
Kids will likely be put off by equipment that they find difficult to handle, so if you can, see if you can find some child size gardening tools. From tiny trowels to half size wheelbarrows, there’s a huge range of gardening products you can get in garden centres or online that will be the right size for the little green fingers.
5. Build a fort
You can use trellis to create a fun shape, like a tepee for example, out of branches, logs and twine. You can then get the kids to plant vining plants near the base of the structure (sweet peas are perfect for this). As they grow, show kids how to guide the vines upwards, making an enclosed space perfect for privacy and shade for a cool place to play.
6. They can enjoy the fruits of their labour
There’s nothing better than sampling your own produce! You could let the kids plan their own meals that feature the fruit and vegetables they’ve nurtured and harvested. Tomatoes and strawberries are so easy as a starter and can even be grown in a hanging basket.
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