I have many fond memories of hours spent in the garden making mud pies! We had an old fish pond (filled in – dangerous!) and the top level was child height. This is where I passed the summer days (always sunny!) scooping out the soil into plastic cups and buckets and making cakes and pies for dollies tea parties – oh how they enjoyed them! Back then we didn’t have fancy kids tools – probably just old spoons and a trowel which had seen better days if I was lucky. These days there are some great children’s gardening sets available for outdoor play and discovery but there are also a lot of distractions – television, computer games, ipads, iphones can keep children glued and sedentary.
As oldies we all know the benefits of gardening and it’s never too soon to start. Children love to help especially with the watering. Some youngsters don’t understand where their food comes from so a growing kit is great and they can eat the results – always an incentive. A small patch of ground they can call their own where they can grow just what they like or just to dig is a great idea. That way your prize plants will stay safe! Plus kids love collecting things –kit them out with a bucket and a pair of gloves and send them on a snail hunt – provide a prize for the most found – your garden will benefit from this adventure too! A bug house or butterfly net is another way to teach them about nature. We also had a tradition in our family – the first potatoes dug up would be witnessed by Grandma, dug by Mum (me) and counted and put into a bag by no 1 son. He learnt where his potatoes came from, it helped with his numeracy skills and now at 26 he longs to move from his flat to a house with a garden – “I want a veg patch Mum!” So I must have done something right!
This week 24th – 4th June is National Children’s Gardening Week with some garden centres providing activities for youngsters.
Whatever you do, we at Garden Divas believe in all the therapeutic effects of time spent gardening so encourage your kids to get outside as much as possible where they will learn, have fun and grow! Sow the seeds of a passion which could last a lifetime.