Gardening for Kids: BACK TO NATURE
Gardening is one of the most wonderful activities that you can introduce for your children and we want to help you learn more about gardening for kids through the different elements that make up a children’s garden!
Gardening for kids has been proven to not only make children happier, but helps them to learn better, cope with stress and understand life, health and nature. Naturally, children learn through action. By doing and playing, they absorb knowledge and information and come to an understanding of the world around them through all of their senses. Gardening offers the perfect opportunity to create an awareness of the wonder of nature, to install a sense of caring for it, to learn basic skills, to get those bodies moving and to have good healthy fun!
Of course, the trick is to capture those busy little minds when they live in a world of constant technological entertainment and instant gratification at the mere push of a button. The benefits of gardening to your child far outweigh the initial effort…
By encouraging your kids to get dirty and garden with you, they are;
- Stimulated through interaction with wildlife
- Taught patience, responsibility, nurture and accomplishment
- Enthused through experiential learning
- Taught about growing their own healthy food
- Kept healthy and active through sensory play
We suggest the following elements to get your kids into the garden:
- Dedicate an area in the garden or on the patio and allow them to experiment a little. Through planting seed they are taught the miracle of life and growth. Give them the responsibility of caring for, watering and feeding it and they will learn about the plant’s life cycle and our responsibility towards living creatures. Quick growers like radish, beans, sunflowers or sweet peas will add an element of surprise.
- A few pots with herbs provide the perfect opportunity to stimulate their sense of smell and taste. If space allows, encourage them to plant some of their favourite vegetables like cherry tomatoes, baby carrots or peas. Strawberries grow well in pots and all kids love them. Use their harvest in your cooking and you’re sure to make their day! (Don’t use poisonous sprays on these plants. Also point out which plants in the garden are poisonous to humans and not edible)
- Keep it colourful. Colour will keep their interest and it’s a fun way for the young ones to learn their colours and shapes.
- Present a variety of textures for them to touch; like smooth or hairy leaves (they’ll love Lamb’s Ear), rough gravel and smooth pebbles, nice squishy mud between their toes or even sand that slips through their fingers.
- If you’re lucky enough to receive the odd ‘visitor’ in the form of a bee, butterfly, lizard, big fat caterpillar, spider or hairy moth (remain calm!) and explain the role they play in the life of the plants and how the way we control them (e.g. harmful chemicals) impacts on the environment. A fun activity would be to build an insect hotel or make a froggy house together. We stock a variety of insect houses and bug hotels to help kids welcome and learn about the importance of beneficial insects in the garden!
- Children love succulents, especially the tine ones that come in tiny pots. They’re cute and tough, need very little feeding and watering and have ‘babies’ that can be repotted and given away as presents.
- Start a zoo garden either in pots or in their own garden. Include plants with animal names like Lamb’s Ear, Hen and Chicks, Elephant Bush, Cat’s Tail, Zebra Plant, Staghorn Fern or Begonia ‘Dragon Wings’. It’s fun naming them and a valuable lesson in the different needs of plants.
- Healing with plants is a magical experience and very empowering. Grow Bulbinella (for stings, burns and rashes), Pet grass (minerals for pets and helps with kitty’s hairballs!), Catnip (your cat will love them for it), Pennyroyal (repels insects and fleas) or Chamomile and Melissa for a calming cup of tea.
- Get the creative juices flowing – paint plant signs, make wind chimes, decorate pots or create a black board in their space to draw on. Recycle tin cans by planting them up and decorating them – ideal for the school market day or as gifts.
- All busy little gardeners need a space for quiet reflection and fantasy play to read, relax, ponder, replay and get a grasp on all the busyness and noise of their lives. Create a quiet corner with poles and canvas, trellising covered in climbers or even just a ‘magic’ carpet with cushions in a quiet corner of the garden.
Children are the gardeners of the future and the keepers of the world of tomorrow. It is up to us to pass onto them a sense of wonder at the miracles of nature and an awareness that we’re not self-contained little islands, but part of a beautiful planet on which every action from every person can make a difference!
On Sunday 18th March 2018 our Gardening for Kids products were featured in the Sunday Times Neighbourhood feature; from toys to seeds, propagation sets, garden tools and gum boots there are so many exciting ways to get your kids into the garden and back to nature…
Be sure to visit our kids garden ‘Hundreds and Thousands’ in the 2018 Lifestyle Garden design Show for some kids gardening fun and inspiration for your very own kids garden!