children interested in gardening is a great way of
teaching them to care about the planet, its wildlife and all the
factors involved in growing their own plants and food.
Children are sponges for information and have a natural
curiosity for most things.
Gardening made simple and fun
for children will enable them to learn about plants, wildlife,
food, the environment and much more.
Giving a child their own plot and allowing
them to fill it with simple plants such as sunflowers is
a great way of introducing them to gardening. They will
see the product of their work in a fairly short time
giving them a sense of achievement that they helped that
plant to grow.
Vegetable growing is also a great way of
introducing children to gardening as they not only see
the product of their work but they can pick it, clean
it, help prepare it and eat it.
with their own tools to work in the garden and creating
projects for them to achieve is a great way of
introducing them to the great outdoors and stretching
their talents. Indoor gardening can also be achieved for
those without gardens or for those rainy days. Displays
for the home can be created and scrapbooks are a great
inexpensive way of learning about aspects of gardening
on a small scale.
Children of all ages
love bugs and creepy crawlies. Capturing bugs to study
them is a fantastic way of introducing them to wildlife.
There a bugs a plenty to be found in the garden from
worms to ants and slugs to snails. Get your children to
go on a bug crawl collecting what they find in plastic
containers. Teach them to not mix up different bugs in
their containers just in case they eat each other. These
can be studies with magnifying glasses. Get your
children to identify what they have found and to create
drawings of them. They can turn these drawings into
their own reference books where they can write where the
bugs live, what they eat, how big they are etc.
the children put the bugs back where they got them from.
Teach your children about insects and bugs that may bite
or sting so they know to observe them for a distance.
Teach older children bigger words to describe what they
are seeing, such as arachnids ( 8 legs, no wings and two
sections of body), insect ( 3 sections of body, 6 legs,
some have wings) etc. Keeping a caterpillar in a jar
with some food can also teach your children about the
metamorphosis it goes through. Constant checking of the
jar will enable your child to see the whole process up
close. Once the caterpillar has emerged from it
chrysalis as a moth or butterfly allow your child to
release it into the garden.
| Creating a wormery is also a
fantastic way of encouraging your children to respect
and interact with nature. Worms are an essential part of
any garden and do a really important job with our soil
and compost. Children will learn about the worms eco
system and how valuable they are in the garden. Teach
them that worms are essential for soil fertility and
that they also help you out in the compost heap by
eating and breaking down the matter that is in there. A
simple wormery can be created by children using a glass
jar with holes in the lid. Alternate layers of sand and
soil in the jar and leave a gap at the top. Get your
children to go looking for worms to put in the jar. Once
they have put a few in they can top up the jar with some
kitchen waste. Worms must be kept dark and moist so
ensure the soil is damp when you put it in, keep the jar
wrapped in a black sheet of paper in a cool, dark place.
Get your children to take out the jar after a few weeks
and write down or draw what they see.
your children to create scrapbooks, gardening diaries,
picture books and story books about what they do in the
garden is a fantastic way of getting them to learn
whilst having fun. Children with a talent for drawing
may like to draw their garden through the seasons,
children good at writing could jot down what they do in
their garden throughout the year and other children may
like to take photographs of the garden and place them in
order. Collecting leaves and sticking them in a book or
drawing them is a great start to making a reference
book. Get your children to collect leaves of all shapes,
sizes and colours when they go out. Give them picture
books so that they can identify what trees their leaves
fell from. Get them to do a small description of the
leaf, see if they already have that leaf in their book
and how it has changed from one season to the next.
Discuss edible leaves such as cabbage and lettuce.
Getting children to plan their own gardens is another
way of getting them thinking about their gardens. If you
are going to be giving your child a plot of their own
first discuss with them what they would like to grow.
Discuss the different aspects of growing plants or
vegetables. If they decide on plants ask them what
kinds. Would they like lots of flowers? Would they
prefer lots of green? Get your children to draw their
plot on paper first, detailing certain things that they
would like to have. There are many plants that are easy
for children to grasp when they start and as they get
more confident at planting bulbs and sowing seeds you
can broaden their spectrums of available plants. Plants
such as primroses, pansies, lavender, forget-me-nots and
sunflowers are all easy for children to plant. They will
provide an array of colour and different fragrances for
the children to see and smell. Edibles like lettuce,
radish, cress etc will grow very quickly and is a good
way to start your children eating healthily.
your children the importance of having wildlife in your
garden is a good way of introducing them to subjects
such as environment and eco systems. Introducing
wildlife into the garden is easy and can be done on a
small scale on your child's plot. Planting lots of
colourful, fragrant flowers will attract birds,
butterflies and bees, placing a small piece of deadwood on the ground
will encourage beetles, and hanging bird boxes and
feeders will encourage nesting. Teaching your children
about how to look after the world is essential as they
are the next generation.
| Teach children respect for all
living things, to look after their planet and to
encourage nature to do its own work. Show them how the
wildlife in their own gardens live and breed. Show them
how predators keep down instances of pests without any
need for chemicals. Teach them about hibernation,
feeding habits, if they are nocturnal etc.
Teach them to
observe but not to interfere, once the wildlife is in
your garden they should be left to go about their lives.
Problems with snails and slugs can be sorted out without
the use of organic pellets, traps and salt. Get your children to crush
eggshells around the base of their plants, or lay down
some abrasive material that they will not like to crawl
over. Keeping chickens is a great way of keeping down
slug populations and also a great way of teaching your
children the responsibility of looking after an animal
in the garden.
world in which we live is going through some major
changes and while your children obviously do not need to
know every detail it would be advisable to discuss
certain aspects of climate change with them. How much
detail to go into should depend on their ages and as a
parent you will know how much they will understand.
There are fantastic books and websites that will aid you
in your discussions and are aimed at kids of all ages.
The discussions of climate change are still ongoing so
regular updates on the talk will be needed to see any
further developments. This is not about scaring your
children in to thinking the world is about to end, it is
about informing them that what we as humans do on this
planet has an effect globally. If we all chip in to make
a change in our lives we can make a difference.
your children about making their own compost from
kitchen waste and using worms to break it down, teach
them to recycle and how it helps the world, teach them
about carbon footprints and that walking and cycling not
only keeps you healthy but it also cuts down on
emissions. Show your children the changes you have made
in your life to assist in slowing down climate change,
you may not be around when the world starts getting
hotter but your children and their children may.
Anything we do now is for the benefit of the following
generations, lets try to ensure that they are more
educated than we were. Encourage your children to join
forums or clubs that are dedicated to making a change by
planting trees and discussing how to conserve energy
need to be informed of basic rules before they commence
gardening. As in all activities done with your children do's
and don'ts must be established. The garden can be full of
potentially harmful things that as adults we tend to glance
over because we are used to them and know how to handle
them. Children are however naturally inquisitive and may
find danger in places you hadn't even considered.
Do tell your
children not to touch or eat anything they do not
recognise as it may be poisonous or cause burning to the
Do tell your children the
dangers of touching equipment without an adult
Do give them their own
tools and equipment that can be safely used by them in
Do inform your children
the dangers of different chemicals. Show them the labels
and teach them what they mean ie Harmful, Toxic,
Do dress your children
appropriately in old clothes and decent footwear.
Do give them plenty of
water to drink if it is hot.
Do ensure that all animal
excrement is removed from the garden before your
children go out there. There are elements in faeces that
can cause blindness if rubbed in the eye.
teach them the dangers of water if you have a pond
or water feature or if they are young ensure that
correct barriers are in place to stop them from
your sheds or outbuildings unlocked if you keep your
equipment or chemicals in there.
Don't let your children
garden in the sun without hats and sun lotion, or if it
is cold ensure they are wrapped up.
Don't let your child
garden if their tetanus is not up to date as there may be tetanus in your soil.
Nathan showing off his prize lupins © LetsGoGardening.co.uk