How To Get Your Kids Gardening This Summer
With six weeks of school holidays stretching ahead, are you looking for ways to encourage the children or grandchildren off their screens and into the fresh air? Us too! To get you started, here are our six favourite gardening activities for kids of all ages.
1. Create a fairy/dinosaur garden
Create an enchanted garden for the fairies to play in when you’re not looking. Use small plants for trees, stones for paths and twigs for fences and washing lines. You can build your mini garden at the base of a tree or shrub, in a planter or an old seed tray. And why should the fairies have all the fun? We made a garden for our dinosaurs!
2. Plant a herb patch
Herb plug plants are easy to care for and they grow quickly, so they’re ideal for small gardeners. Give the kids their own patch or window box to water every day, and they’ll quickly be rewarded with ingredients for summer lunches - basil for pesto and pizza, mint for cool yogurt dips, parsley and coriander for garnishes. If you can get them to cook their own, it’s a double win.
3. Build a bug hotel
If your kids are mad on mini-beasts, encourage them (and the insects) into your garden by making a bug hotel.
Start with an open-fronted box (we made ours from a broken bird box) and send the kids on a hunt around the garden (or woods) for twigs, pinecones and dry grass for insects to hide in; roll up narrow tubes of cardboard for larger species like solitary bees, then pack your natural materials in tightly.
Position your bug hotel in a dark, hidden spot in the garden - ours is nestled at the base of a tree.
4. Build a mini allotment
There’s still time to plant vegetables, especially if you skip the seedling phase by using plug plants. Give the kids their own raised bed or a corner of the border and let them create their own vegetable garden. Perfect for planting out now are super-healthy brassicas like broccoli and kale, as well as easy-to-grow salad crops including beetroot, cucumbers and. tomatoes.
Lettuces are perfect for planting out and growing throughout the summer - when they’re big enough, you can cut fresh leaves whenever you want and as if by magic, more will grow….
5. What about a container pond
Even the smallest garden or yard can have a pond, and it’s a great way to attract wildlife! Birds will bathe in it, dragonflies may lay their eggs and you might even be lucky enough to see frogs. Start with a container such as a bucket or an old washing up bowl. You don’t have to sink it into the ground, but it will help more animals to reach it if you do. Position your pond where it will get some daylight but not full sun. Layer stones or gravel on the bottom of your pond, fill it with water (rainwater is best) and add some pond plants. To help animals get in and out of the pond, make ramps from sticks or pieces of wood. Wait patiently and they will come….
(Even a tiny pond can be a drowning hazard, so this may be one for the big kids - always supervise young children around water)
6. Plant a tree
There’s something really special about planting a tree and watching it grow with your child - you can even take measurements and a photo each summer to record their progress. Plant a fruit tree this summer and you can add picking the crop to this list in a year or two!
Whatever gardening activities you get up to this summer, we hope you enjoy your holidays - and if you do any of our favourite projects, why not send us a photo?