Gardening with children – 10 fun activities for the whole family to enjoy.

Getting your children interested in the garden from an early age will not keep them entertained but also help in their development and improve their learning skills. As well as these benefits you can also improve their awareness of where food comes from and show them how to recycle waste.
Here are our top 10 garden activities for children aged 4-7years old.

  1. Grow your own fresh vegetables – Give your children a small plot of land or their very own vegetable planter to grow carrots, potatoes and cabbages. With your help they can learn where food comes from. Your children will be far more likely to try foods that they have grown themselves.
  2. Make compost – Help your children set up a composter on earth not concrete or paving and get them to fill the bin with dead leaves, garden waste and even the contents of their rabbit or guinea pig hutch when they clean it out! Sit down with them indoors and work on a poster for the fridge of all the household waste that they can help collect after meals to add to the composter including, fruit, vegetables and egg shells. When the bottom of the composter is filled with brown and crumbly contents you can add it to your flower beds. (For more information on how to make your own compost read Jacks guide to composting.)
  3. Start a wormery – You can use a large clean glass jar to build a wormery in. Start by placing a layer of sand at the bottom and then a layer of soil approximately 1cm deep, repeat the layers but leave a 5cm gap at the top of the jar. The next task is for your children to find some wriggly worms in your garden. Add the worms to the jar along with some old vegetable peelings. Place the lid on the jar making sure that you have added air holes for your worms. Next get your children to put their wormery in a dark cupboard and leave it there for a couple of weeks. When you bring the wormery back out get your children to observe what has happened to the vegetable peelings and what patterns the worms have made in the earth.
  4. Tracking snails – All you need for this fun task is a pot of brightly coloured nail varnish. Give each of your children a different colour and get them to track down 5 or so snails each. Paint a small brush stroke of nail varnish onto the snail shells and then accompany your children with the snails out of your garden but not too far away. Over the next few days get them to observe whether snails have a homing instinct and come back into your garden as they will easily be spotted thanks to the colourful spots on their shells. If they do not return at least you have managed to eradicate a few more snails from your garden.
  5. Plant a tree – Take your children to the park and collect some conkers which can be planted out in your garden. In order to control the size of these trees it is best to plant them out in a plant pot or in a planter. You may wish to add broken crockery to the base of the plant pot, you can do this with your children but some pieces are likely to have sharp edges. Ask your child to fill the pot with compost and dig a 2 cm hole for the conker to go into the soil. Cover it and water it well. In the spring this you should begin to see shoots, get your children to continue to water it but ensure they do not overwater the tree. Over time the tree will grow and you can keep on repotting it into a bigger pot when required.
  6. Gardening alphabet – This is a great game for your younger and older children to play together. Your children can work separately or as a team to compile an alphabetical list of things that they find in the garden, the first team to complete a garden list wins a prize.
  7. Improve your child’s vocabulary – Get them to find and show you something that is big, small, hard, soft, wet, dry, cold, hot, tall short, thin, smelly, fragrant, prickly, smooth and so on………
  8. Hide and seek – This is a timeless game that all of your family can enjoy. Do specify any areas such as your greenhouse that are out of bounds for safety reasons.
  9. Make a daisy chain – If your lawn if filled with daisies, on a warm sunny day you can sit outside and pick daisies with long strong stalks. Get your children to split the stems half way down with their thumb to create a hole which another daisy can be thread through and simply repeat.
  10. Giant garden games – If you struggle to find things to do in your garden there are many different garden games available to keep your children entertained as well as helping to improve their development and learning skills. For a wide range of garden games including giant chess, pick up sticks and snakes and ladders visit Jacks Garden Store now.

Good luck
Gardener Jack!

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