5 ways to take home schooling into the garden

gardening for toddlers
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Children love to explore nature - and to get mucky. Here's how to make the most of time in the garden with them to enrich their education…

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While schools might be sending out work for children to do, it can sometimes be difficult for them to concentrate outside the classroom. After all, with all their favourite toys, not to mention the telly and other screens, there are plenty of distractions at home.

If you’re struggling with home schooling, outdoor activities for kids are a great way for them to learn. Even if you don't have your own outdoor space, you can still help them discover all about plants, flowers and nature with a window box.

And don’t worry if it doesn’t sound like proper schoolwork – there are so many educational benefits of gardening. Kids can learn about patience and responsibility, as well as problem solving and organisation.

However old they are, there’s lots they can learn outside. Younger ones may not be ready for heavy lifting, but they can learn lots about how things grow from planting and tending to things in their very own little kids garden.

If you do have a garden, you could try giving them their own plot. Keep it very small and ensure it has lots of light so it's easy to grow things. Here are some ideas for things they can do with it.

1. Plant seeds and watch them grow - fast

For very young ones, even a week is an eternity. So, when introducing them to how things grow, it's best to start with fast-growing plants like cress, sunflowers or sweet peas.

Let them dig holes for the seeds, put them in place and cover them with soil. Then each day they can check for progress and water their seedlings to help them along.

2. Let them grow their own food

When they've mastered growing their first plants, why not branch out into planting something they can eat? They'll learn so much about where food comes from and will have results they can really be proud of – and eat.

Runner beans, radishes and lettuce are all quite easy to grow. And even fussy eaters will be more likely to try something new when they made it themselves.

3. Give them their own mini-tools

Even if they're not quite ready to turn over the flowerbeds just yet, toddlers can still help dig holes for seeds and water plants as they tend their little patch.

Having their own small watering can, rake, trowel and spade can help their growing sense of independence and build their motor skills. For older kids, kit them out with wellies or tools of their choice – or let them get arty and customise their own! You can order these online from the usual DIY stores, large supermarkets or garden centres. Alternatively, Bulldog Tools has worked with the Royal Horticultural Society’s Campaign for School Gardening and offers tools for kids made in Britain and in exactly the same way as the larger tools for adults.

4. Label the plants

Every gardener needs to know what they're growing, and your little helper is no different. Creating labels for your plants is a great rainy-day activity for them.

Try collecting some smooth pebbles and giving them to your child to paint. They can use pretty colours and you can help them write the name of the plant - perhaps with a picture of how it will look.

5. Learn around the subject

Even if you don’t have the outside space to let them learn practically from gardening, you can use it as a springboard to learn about nature and the environment. Check out Twinkl for resources.

Do your kids enjoy gardening?
Let us know your suggestions in the comments.

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