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Children, Families, Garden, Home and Garden

Gardening With Kids Tips and Ideas

gardening with kids

gardening with kids
As the Easter holidays are nearly here, I thought I’d share a few fun activities to do with your family.  The first one of these is gardening with kids – a great cheap and easy activity that kids love. 

This Easter I have my fingers crossed for good weather.  You see, I’d really like to get out into the garden with my daughter and start growing some vegetables with her.  It’s never too early to start showing children where the food we eat comes from.  I’m also desperately hoping that growing her own vegetables will help stave off that common toddler hatred of anything vegetable-based!

Although you don’t need any fancy gear to get out into the garden with your kids (in fact, the older the clothes the better!), there are a few useful tools that make gardening with kids a little easier.  

Useful Tools When Gardening With Kids

Here are a few things I have my eye on that would be great for gardening with kids:

From clockwise:

gardening with kids equipment

Kids Metal Watering Can* (£9.89) – from eBay. I haven’t met a kid yet that doesn’t love watering plants.  Invest in a mini watering can for little ones and make a certain area of the garden their patch for keeping well watered. This metal watering can is recyclable with metal waste at the end of its life, meaning it won’t go to landfill, like plastic watering cans which are non-recyclable.

Bug Hotel* (£15.99) – from Not On The High Street. A bug hotel attracts bees, ladybirds, lacewings, and other minibeasts to your garden. This helps to naturally eradicate any hungry aphids that might want to eat your precious vegetables, and will also pollinate your vegetables too.  Children will adore looking for ladybirds and other minibeasts.  And a top tip. You don’t need to buy a bug hotel. Instead, you can also create your own bug hotel by leaving an area of the garden wild and unweeded, with logs and stones piled up.

Kids hand tools* (£12.95)  – from Not On The High Street. Investing in a set of kids hand tools makes gardening easier to manage for small hands. These ones are made from FSC approved wood and metal.

Kids Gardening Gloves* (£3.99) – from eBay. These will help protect little hands from thorns and other garden nasties, as well as helping to make clean-up time a little easier!

What Can I Grow In A Garden For Kids?

If you’re as keen as I am to get out in your garden and do some gardening then there are lots of things to grow with kids.

Fruit and vegetables-wise, when you are gardening with kids, it’s best to grow produce that are both easy to sow and grow, and that will grow quickly once you’ve planted the seeds. You really do need to see shoots quickly to keep their interest!

Other things to consider are:

  • what fruit and vegetables will they realistically eat. Courgettes are quick and easy to grow, but will your kid even entertain the idea of eating a courgette?
  • fruit and vegetables that you can eat directly after picking are good choices. A lot of fun in growing your own is the picking and eating. Having to cook something before eating it can take away some of the joy of growing for kids.
  • are there things that you grow that will give you a continual crop for minimum effort and maximum reward? Soft fruits, like strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc, will all continue to fruit throughout their growing season.
  • If you’ve got a small garden, consider what can easily be grown in containers.

My favourite vegetables to grow with kids are fast-sprouting veggies like lettuce, radishes, carrots, and peas, which are fun to grow. Strawberries are always a treat to grow, and fun to pick. And even more fun to eat!

What About Flowers?

Flowers-wise, sweet peas and sunflowers and fun and fast to grow. You can even have a sunflower growing competition. Use wooden lolly sticks to write each kid’s name on it. After you’ve planted the sunflower seeds, pop the sticks in the ground so they know which sunflower belongs to which person. Then have a competition to see whose can grow the tallest. I would grow them near a fence or wall, but if that’s not possible you may need some canes to help support them as they grow taller and taller.

Butterfly and bee friendly plants are also fun to plant and grow. Especially as kids get the thrill of spotting visitors to their garden.

I have some raised beds to make planting easy for my little ‘un. However, you could also use tubs or trugs, or even just dedicate a small area of your garden for planting.

What If You Don’t Have A Garden?

Even if you don’t have a garden, there are plenty of things you can grow in window boxes and on your windowsill.  

Fresh herbs are quick, simple, and cheap to grow. This is a useful resource for growing herbs with kids.  

Chilli plants work well indoors, as do avocados (which are a lot of fun to watch growing). And there are always old favourites like cress and mustard, which are fun to grow in eggshells. These only take a few days to grow and can be eaten in sandwiches or in salads.  

I also heartily recommend growing snow pea shoots. They’re lots of fun to grow, and grow really quickly.

Another fun thing to grow with kids is vegetables from scrap food. Certain vegetables like lettuce, cabbage, onions, and garlic will regrow from the bits that you would normally throw away. It will blow your kid’s mind!

If you have any advice on gardening with kids or other suggestions of what to grow then do let me know in the comment below!

Families, Whole Family

Eco Perfectionism Is a Myth We Need To Let Go Of

Have you heard of the term ‘Eco Perfectionism’? Maybe you haven’t but you might understand the concept. Put simply, it’s the idea that you can only take part in the sustainability movement if you’re living an environmentally flawless life.

My feeling on eco-perfectionism is that it’s one of the biggest barriers to getting people to take more sustainable steps in their lives. Who wants to make a change to their life, for fear of getting it wrong? For people on social media to tell you just how wrong you are? And how do we encourage people to take part in a movement when people seem so quick to tear people down, rather than build them up?

Here are some of my thoughts on eco-perfectionism.

Progress, Not Perfection

Something I think about a lot is the old adage, ‘Progress Not Perfection’. As such I’ve come to think that sustainability should have a tagline. You know, how you would describe sustainability to someone you met in an elevator, with only limited time to get your point across. Progress, not perfection would fit perfectly.

It’s getting this message across that is the problem.

I’ve found when you push your head above the crowd, and blog about sustainability or share something on social media people assume that you’re some kind of eco-perfectionist. My own experience of blogging about sustainable living has shown how some people are quick to criticise. I often get the old chestnut “how dare you do X, Y, or Z on a site called MORAL FIBRES”. Moral Fibres in capitals.

I mean, first of all, on my about page, I straight up state that I’m not perfect. I mean, no-one is because it is simply not possible to be perfect. Not in any aspect of sustainability. This is because everything we do has an impact. We can try and minimise that impact according to our own individual ethics, but ultimately there are trade-offs in any aspect of sustainability.

Sustainability Is About Nuance and Individual Circumstances

the problem with eco perfectionism

Take animal products, for example. Leather and wool are both derived from livestock rearing, which has its impacts on the environment. Vegan leather, however, is a virgin plastic derived from fossil fuels and is nowhere near as durable.

Meanwhile, acrylic fleece jumpers are also made from fossil fuels and shed microplastics into our oceans every time they are washed. Even ones made from recycled plastic bottles. There are trade-offs and choices to be made, with no perfect choice, save to only buy second-hand everything ever. This often isn’t a practical or accessible choice so we make tradeoffs based on our own individual internal values.

There’s No One Way to Be Sustainable

And that’s the thing with the sustainability movement. Sustainability doesn’t look a certain way. There’s no one way to be sustainable. Everyone has to make choices according to their own lives values, circumstances, barriers, and privileges. It can’t be prescriptive.

We, therefore, cannot make judgements about how anyone approaches sustainability, because we don’t the ins and outs of a person’s individual circumstances, values, barriers, privileges, and nuances. Nuances such as when plastic-free isn’t always best for the environment.

Shouting at people telling them that they’re doing it wrong is neither helpful nor does it engender people to environmentalism. All it does is tell people that there’s no room for individual circumstances.

We’re Not Born Experts

What eco-perfectionism also does is tell people that there’s no room for trying, learning, or growing. However, we’re not born experts. There needs to be space in the movement for people to try, and learn, and make mistakes, and try again.

Shouting people down when they make mistakes means they don’t progress to the trying again stage. They’re made to think environmentalism isn’t for them. Shouting at people on the internet or in real life achieves nothing. Instead, stop and think about what you could say that could offer encouragement. Or decide if it’s best to say anything at all. Sometimes that the most useful thing to do.

Final Thoughts

Eco-perfectionism, and the quest for it, is a sure-fire way to burn out or develop eco-anxiety.

It’s difficult to aim for perfection, and we can put people off our mission if we’re too over-zealous.  However, if we aim to be imperfect environmentalists, then we might just encourage more imperfect environmentalists to join our cause.