This month sees the return of National Children’s Gardening Week, from 27th May – 4th June. It’s easy to see why little ones love the sense of achievement that comes with nurturing a seed into a thriving plant, and you don’t need much to get started – just a sunny windowsill and a few pots with good quality compost.
Gardening is a brilliant, inexpensive way to teach patience and discipline, and according to the RHS, research has shown that it helps children perform better at school and develop a greater interest in healthy eating.
Which seeds to sow in the next few months
Growing fruit, vegetables, herbs and flowers is one of the best ways to get children excited about gardening. If you can, you should give them their own dedicated space, and encourage them to sow the seeds themselves. While it’s a little late to sow some vegetables like tomatoes and peppers, there are a huge variety of plants that thrive at this time of year. Kick start your vegetable patch with carrots, runner beans, peas, cucumber, broccoli, spring onions or pumpkins, or for a smaller project, try planting cress in small indoor pots. It’s not too late to plant sunflowers – and have a competition to see whose has grown the biggest by the end of the Summer! Other flowers to plant at this time of year include nasturtiums, calendulas, poppies and wildflowers. Johnson’s have a fantastic range of seeds which are perfect for little ones to sow at this time of year. Aimed at 3-11 year olds, they also include games, activities, and fun facts to support Key Stage 2 learning. For budding horticulturists, the RHS has a really useful crop planner, and their Grow Your Own app which is a handy guide to growing fruit, vegetables and herbs of your own.
Children's gardening essentials
If you find that your child really enjoys getting out in the garden it may be worth investing in some child friendly mini-tools that are safe for them to hold and use by themselves. We absolutely love Green Toys’ watering can and tool set, which is made from 100% recycled milk cartons, as well as Burgon & Ball’s National Trust gardening gloves with a cute hedgehog design, and Scrunch’s super practical silicone bucket – perfect for collecting sticks, stones, and creepy crawlies.
With the British Weather as unpredictable as ever, it’s absolutely essential to muddy-proof their clothes. We’d recommend covering them from head to toe in one of our bestselling EcoLight Puddlesuits and a pair of wellies, or for warmer days you could dress them in a pair of our Originals Recycled Dungarees, with a light t-shirt and shorts underneath.
5 simple gardening projects to keep them busy
1) Bug hotel
The Woodland Trust have some brilliant tips for building a bug hotel with little ones. Insects love twigs, leaves, pinecones and stones – children can run around the garden finding materials, and put them all together in a plant pot or open fronted box.
2) Eggbox garden
An eggbox garden is the perfect introduction to gardening for little ones. It’s inexpensive, easy, and can be placed on their bedroom windowsill for them to look after. Countryfile have a brilliant guide to help you get started.
3) Leaf compost
All young children love collecting leaves, so this is a great way to keep them entertained while also keeping your garden nice and tidy. Get them to collect as many leaves as they can, then put them inside a bin liner, add a little water if they are dry, pierce holes in the bag, and tie loosely. Alternatively you could invest in a compost bin or make your own using chicken wire and bamboo.
4) Garden stone painting
Garden stone painting is a great activity for creative children – you can find stones in the garden, or on one of your nature walks, and paint them however you like. You could even add the names of the plants you’re growing, and use them as markers to identify herbs, vegetables and flowers.
5) Pine cone bird feeders
We all love to see birds in the garden, and children love to leave food out for them and watch from a distance. The RSPB have an easy step-by-step guide for a DIY pinecone bird feeder using bird seed, raisins, peanuts, cheese and lard. It’s a really fun activity to do together, and helps teach them about caring for nature.
We hope we’ve inspired you to get out in the garden with your little ones. If you take any photos of your little gardeners in their Muddy Puddles waterproofs, please remember to tag us @muddypuddlesuk – we love seeing your photos!