The lovely weather this year has really helped to encourage our love of gardening. We have had a bountiful supply of fruit and vegetables and growing our own produce has definitely helped with the picky eater in our family!
It is great for children to be involved in gardening. It gets them out in the fresh air, helps their knowledge of science and nature and they can get a real sense of pride seeing something they have grown. Nurturing tiny seedlings into fully grown plants gives them a sense of responsibility, even from a very young age.
Here are a few tips for encouraging a love of gardening in our little ones.
1. Let them sow their own seeds. This includes making the rows – even though they may end up a bit wonky! Let them choose which seeds they want to sow too (I sometimes struggle with this one!)
2. Give them their own area of the garden which they can be responsible for – even if it is just their own pot, they will love being able to call it their own.
3. Try to grow some fruit or vegetables. You don’t need a huge amount of space, you could start with growing a few strawberries or carrots in a pot. We have grown lots of vegetables for the past couple of years and they are all grown in containers.
4. Try flower pressing. Both Lily and Thomas have always loved doing this. If you don’t have a flower press just use a big thick book with some white paper between the pages. For best results, pick the flowers when they are nice and dry. They can use the pressed flowers to make cards or pictures. We love these pressed flower gifts and might need to make some more for Christmas!
5. Encourage a wildlife-friendly garden. Talk about the types of plants you have and which insects will enjoy them. Go on a bug hunt with an insect book to help with identification, or maybe even draw some of the insects that you spot.
7. Little hands need little tools so it may be worth investing in a Children’s Garden Tool Set. If they find the tools easier to handle they will be far more likely to want to use it.
We have had so much fun in the garden this summer and hopefully it will carry on well into the autumn. We are still picking bumper crops of runner beans, apples and raspberries and we are still religiously watering our sweetcorn in the hope that we will soon be enjoying a sweet, juicy crop.