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:
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!