Kids love to explore and interact with nature, but that can be tricky when the great outdoors is off-limits. If you’re lucky enough to have a garden, there are lots of things you can do with your children to keep them entertained and support their education. We’ve gathered some fun gardening projects for you to try over the next few weeks which will test their creativity, teach them about the natural world and maybe, just maybe, persuade them to eat the dreaded ‘V Word’ – Vegetables!
Incredible edibles: The best fruit and veg to grow at home with kids
We know that last part got your attention, so let’s get straight to it. You’ll be amazed how much more receptive kids are to eating a piece of fruit or veg when they’ve grown it themselves. You don’t need to be a green-fingered god or goddess either, just start off with some easy grows like strawberries, salad leaves, runner beans, onions or potatoes. If all else fails, they’ll never say no to home-grown chips.
You can buy seeds from most supermarkets or pick some up online. They take a few weeks to grow, so to prevent your little ones from getting impatient, it’s a good idea to grow some quick herbs like cress alongside your fruit and veg. There’s more info on this below.
Healthy competition: Have a sunflower grow-off
Kids love a competition. And what better way to bring out their competitive spirit than by growing sunflowers? The giant nodding flowers provide excitement throughout the summer as you measure how much they’ve grown each week. Plus, they give your garden a bright flash of colour.
Be sure to pick up ‘giant’ sunflower seeds for the most impressive plants – they can grow up to 10ft! Take a look at our other garden series blog post, How To Grow Sunflowers, to find out how to grow these giants and turn it into a healthy competition with the family.
Tasty treats: Use Ice cream sticks as plant markers
We promise our kids haven’t kidnapped us and made us type this next sentence. Eating lots of ice creams can be great for your garden.
It’s true. Ice cream sticks make perfect ‘plant signposts’. Simply write the names of the plant on one and glue it to another. Let the children get creative with colours and designs and learn to identify which plants are which along the way.
The great bug census: Send your kids on a mission of discovery around the garden
Arm them with a pencil and paper and let your intrepid explorers go out and find all of the bugs, birds and creatures living in your garden. If possible, give them a camera to take pictures of any species they can’t identify so you – or Google – can help them out afterwards.
For even more fun with this project, why not print off our Junior Explorer Activity Sheet and challenge them to find as many of the bugs as they can.
The quick win: Plant fast-growing herbs
This is a great project to kick-start your kids’ passion for gardening. You may remember growing cress when you were younger. It’s a popular choice thanks to its speedy germination time (one or two days) and harvest (five to seven days). Alternatively, you can pick up a herb plant like mint, basil or parsley from your local supermarket, cut it back and put your little one in charge of watering it. It’ll grow back in just a few days.
For some detailed advice on how to grow herbs, check out our blog about growing plants with little space.
Whether you’re a gardening pro or a complete novice, there’s all-sorts you can do to teach children about plants and wildlife and have plenty of fun along the way. It can also be a great way to inject some fun into home-schooling.
We’d love to see what projects you’ve been doing with your little ones in the garden. Be sure to tag us @milletsonline in your Instagram gardening snaps!