Gardening for toddlers

Children love to explore nature - and to get mucky. Here's how to make the most of time in the garden with them.

Whatever you're doing, your toddler probably wants to get involved: they're curious and they love to imitate the things they see grown-ups doing.

And with all the exciting sights, sounds and smells of the garden to explore, it's no wonder that they're keen to lend a hand.

They may not be ready for heavy lifting, but your little one can learn lots about how things grow from planting and tending to things in the garden.

Even if you don't have outdoor space, you can still help them discover all about plants and flowers. Why not try planting a little packet of seeds in a window box?

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.


Plant seeds and watch them grow - fast

For little 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.

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.

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.

Give them their own mini-tools

Even if they're not quite ready to turn over the flowerbeds just yet, they 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.

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.

Take care of the clean-up

After a day of exciting exploration in the soil, you can guarantee their clothes are going to be mucky. Luckily, Ariel 3in1 pods have FibreScience technology which cleans, protects and enhances clothes, so they stay looking like new for wash after wash.

The new pack even has a safety lock, so however curious your little one gets, they'll be safe with Ariel.

How do you get your toddler involved in the gardening? Let us know your suggestions in the comments.

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