Gardening sometimes comes last on your list of household chores. But you can both save time and spend more happy hours with the family when you take advantage of the children’s innate interest in nature.
After all, almost all kids love playing with mud, planting seeds, seeing things grow and getting up close and personal with creepy crawlies and butterflies – it’s only as we grow up that we start getting squeamish.
And if you’re worried about the cleanup, don’t. Muddy footprints will disappear with Flash Floor, scuffmarks will vanish with Flash Magic Eraser, and soiled clothes will look like new again with Ariel 3in1 Pods.
So it put that natural interest to good use and unglue them from their screens to get busy with you in the garden.
In a world of instant gratification, kids can easily get discouraged if they don’t see anything happening for ages (although of course there’s a life lesson to be had in waiting sometimes!).
Choose bedding plants that will look promising as soon as they go in the ground. Pansies, geraniums and primroses are usually safe bets with pretty results.
If your child wants to plant something from seed, keep up their interest by taking regular photos to chart their bloom’s progress as the weeks go by. Cornflower seeds produce vibrant bluey purple flowers while sunflower seeds win in the ‘bigger-is-better’ stakes.
Keep mess under control by getting your child to plant flowers in pots that can sit outside but don’t require lots of digging. A potted marigold can be planted in spring and within 10 weeks produces lots of flowers.
Children love digging for buried treasure in the form of carrots or potatoes, and growing veggies is often a good way to get a veg-phobic child to eat some. Check out our tips on how to create your own vegetable patch.
Even if you don’t have any outside space, you can still have fun gardening with the kids. Window boxes are great, particularly if you fill them with things you can have for supper. Get ideas from our article on the all-you-can-eat windowsill.
And what about asking an elderly neighbour or relative if you can help look after their garden? It’s still good fun and will bring great pleasure to someone else. There are local community gardening projects too. You can learn a lot from other gardeners’ style of garden design while you’re all joining in. The RHS website has lots of listings for these, organised region by region.
Encourage your child’s enthusiasm for gardening with a few fascinating details. For example…
• Give kids a magnifying glass and let them discover that worms have bristles!
• Show them how some flowers are pale and smell more appealing in the evening so that moths not butterflies will be attracted to them for pollination.
• Let them know that a caterpillar has 4,000 muscles – that’s more than Arnold Schwarzenegger!
What are your tips to get the kids involved in the gardening? Let us know in the comments section below.