Children In The Garden

You may have children, or grandchildren that you long to get outside, away from the television or their tablet, but it can be difficult to get them interested or even know where to start when it comes to introducing the great outdoors.

Playing outside is an obviously fun and easy thing to get kids motivated for, however play equipment like swings, slides and trampolines do tend to wear thin quickly and then you are stuck with unsightly equipment in the garden. I have found with my children that their own imagination is the best piece of play equipment they can own– you just need to give them a spark to get them started. I’m happy to play the fool and get them going on some games, it really is as simple as steppingstones through some plants that become exploring through a jungle. A few old logs stacked up easily become a shipwreck or a flag planted at the highest part of the garden is transformed into a castle of course! This type of natural play also means your garden still looks like a nice space for you to spend time in rather than a jungle gym of play equipment.

The best thing I ever brought for my oldest boy was a toy set consisting of a hedge trimmer, whipper snipper and blower so now he can follow me around and carry out all the jobs I do without damaging the plants! Obviously, you need to make sure you’re pruning in a safe way so the debris doesn’t fall on the children but by involving the kids like this means they simply can’t wait to get outside and join you and you still get the maintenance work done. I would however advise you buy tools with removable batteries as the sound of a toy whipper snipper during dinner does get very testing!

Showing children how plants grow and how fun that can be really gets me excited but when selecting plants to grow with your young ones make sure you buy plants that grow quickly to keep their interest. Things like sunflowers, radish and tomatoes are great as they grab the imagination and reward it quickly with fruit and flowers in a matter of weeks rather than months. With Christmas just around the corner, a packet of seeds make the perfect stocking filler and holiday activity.

If you are a keen gardener and the thought of a young terror in your own patch gives you the ‘wilts’ make sure you give them their own special patch in a corner of the garden or a couple of pots where they can do whatever they want. This will give them ownership over the garden without messing up all the hard work you have done.

Watering is the best thing you can get kids involved with as it’s a necessary task and one they can’t really get wrong! A sprinkler on the lawn is something the grass will love and with the hot weather upon us a whole lot of fun too!

Once your children start to show an interest in gardening you can expand on playing and growing out in the garden. ‘How many weeds can you collect’ is a game that admittedly only works some of the time but even if it works half the time it’s half the time I get a hand pulling weeds out!