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Children, Families, Garden, Home and Garden

Gardening With Kids: Tips & Ideas To Encourage Green Fingers

Want to help develop your kids’ love of nature, and their green fingers?  Here are some easy tips and ideas for gardening with kids, to get your children into growing their own fruit, vegetables and herbs.

I have my fingers crossed for good weather this weekend.  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!

I’ve put a lot of prepping into creating a kid-friendly garden, so here are my top tips when it comes to gardening with children.

What Can I Grow In A Garden For Kids?

Image of kids gardening with blue text box that says gardening basics for kids to encourage green fingers.

If you’re as keen as I am to get out in your garden and do some gardening, then first things first, you might be wondering what the best fruit and vegetables are to grow with kids? The good news is that there are lots of things to grow with kids.

Fruit and vegetables-wise, it’s best to grow produce that is 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!

My favourite vegetables to grow with kids are fast-sprouting veggies like lettuce, radishes, carrots, and peas, which are easy and fun to grow.

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 the eating. Having to cook something before eating it can take away some of the joy of growing for kids. Peas and strawberries are always a treat to grow, and fun to pick. And they’re even more fun to eat straight from the plant on a warm summer day!
  • are there things that you grow in your garden 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. This means your kid can go out into the garden and pick fruit on a regular basis.g
  • If you’ve got a small garden or if you rent, then consider what can easily be grown in containers. Potatoes are easy to grow in containers, and it’s always great fun harvesting your potatoes as it’s quite a muddy job!

What About Flowers When Gardening With Kids?

Of course, you don’t just have to grow fruit and vegetables. 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 them. 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 who can grow the tallest. I would grow your sunflowers near a fence or wall for a bit of support, 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 when gardening with kids. 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.

Useful Tools When Gardening With Kids

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.  

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* (£18.99) – 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* (£16.95)  – from Not On The High Street. Investing in a set of kid’s hand tools makes gardening easier to manage for small hands. These ones are made from FSC approved wood and metal.

Kids Gardening Gloves* (£3.39) – 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 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 food scraps 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!

Babies, Children, Families

Eco-Friendly Potty Training Tips & Advice

eco-friendly potty training
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After potty training both of my kids, I thought it might be useful if I wrote about our eco-friendly potty training process – from how we did it to what we used in case anyone is about to embark on potty training now or in the near future.

As well as from an environmental perspective, I find potty training kids the eco-friendly way is much easier.

In regular pants or washable training pants, your kid knows if they have an accident because their pants are wet. The packs of pull-up training pants you get in the supermarket are just nappies, rebranded slightly. As they are so absorbent, kids don’t know when they are wet so it makes the potty training job 10 times harder. Don’t make what can be a tedious job even harder on yourself!

Our Eco-Friendly Potty Training Tools

washable potty training pants
Our Tots Bots Training Pants

A kid doesn’t need much to potty train. Some big kid pants and a step stool is pretty much all you need. The step stool allows little kids to get on and off the toilet, and to reach the sink to wash their hands. You might want a few extras but there’s no need to go overboard on your eco-friendly potty training journey.

I personally like using potty training pants on my kids for the first month or so after potty training, especially when you are about and about. Most potty training pants hold one wee, so they give you that extra peace of mind that you won’t be standing in the supermarket in a puddle of wee. That being said, they are by no means essential. If you want to just use regular pants then go for it!

If you are going down the washable training pants route then this is what we used:

L-R: Tots Bots, Bright Bots & Pop In Pants

2 x Tots Bots Potty Training Pants (sadly unavailable)

Sadly the Tots Bots Training Pants appear to have been discontinued, which is a real shame because they were my favourite eco-friendly potty training pants to use. The button up on both sides, which means if your kid accidentally does a number two then they are easy to get off without getting poo everywhere. I bought these when I was potty training my eldest over five years ago, and tried to buy some more pairs for my youngest to no avail. However, they are well worth looking out for on cloth nappy buying and selling groups.

2 x Bright Bots Training Pants*

A bargain at £3.50 each, the Bright Bots pants are pretty basic and I found them to be quite tight-fitting. However, they do the job nicely for not a lot of money. Sturdy too – they held up to two rounds of potty training! I would stock up on these if you can’t find the Tots Bots pants.

3 x Pop In Daytime Training Pants

I bought the Pop In Daytime Training Pants this time around, when I couldn’t find any more Tots Bots Pants. My daughter really loved the funky prints on them and they did their job quite nicely. You’ll need to cut off the absurdly long label from the back of them as this gets annoying very quickly, and I do feel the pattern fades quickly in the wash, but otherwise a good pair of eco-friendly toddler potty training pants.

As you can see, I had seven pairs of potty training pants which was sufficient for us. I always popped a few pairs in their nursery bags in case of accidents at nursery.

Potty, Kids Toilet Seat and Step

Some people like to get their kids to start off going on a potty, others like to skip straight to using the toilet. I personally started my kids off on the potty and then made the transition to the toilet.

We use a kids toilet seat at home as it means my daughter can go to the toilet unaided. We don’t carry it with us when we are out and about – I just help her. Depending on your toilet and your kid, you might not need one.

If you need to pick a potty up, then ask around – a friend or family member might have one sitting in a cupboard. If not, then kids charity shops and eBay are awash with second-hand equipment, such as potties and toilet seats. Give them a good clean first, obviously.

I have seen some “biodegradable” potties on the market, but I have no idea how biodegradable or eco-friendly these actually are for potty training, so exercise caution. There is a world of difference between the words biodegradable and compostable, and these words cannot be used interchangeably.

How To Get Started

Once your child has started showing signs of being aware, somewhere around age 2 to 3, that they have a wet or soiled nappy, or an interest in using the potty then cancel all your plans for 3 or 4 days and stay home. It’s time to start eco-friendly potty training! Stock up on food shopping – it’s best if you don’t go far.

Strip off your kid’s bottom half, and roll up any rugs. If you have carpets, put something waterproof down and lay out some floor-based activities. I then bust the juice out (a treat!) and keep my little one well hydrated.

Every twenty-five minutes, ask your kid if they need the toilet. Set a timer in case you forget! It feels a bit of a hard slog, constantly asking about the toilet. For me, the promise of a glass of wine at the end of the day worked for me, but you do what works for you. You will get there and regain your inner balance, I promise!

Offer completely over-the-top praise to your kid for going on the potty. Get everyone in the family on board in offering praise. Offer chocolate or a sticker on a sheet as a reward for every successful potty usage. I used chocolate. No shame. No regrets.

After a couple of days, you can go up to asking every 45 minutes. And after a few weeks, your kid will be able to tell you when they need the potty. And believe me, they will. Sometimes when they don’t even need the potty. Generally at bedtime, if your kids are anything like mine!

If after a week, and your kid doesn’t seem to be getting the hang of using the potty, then put things on hold and try again in a little while. If they are not ready then it’s really not worth the hassle.

That’s my guide to eco-friendly potty training – I’m happy to help with any questions you have!

Some parents have asked me before if using cloth nappies can help your kid to potty train faster than disposable nappy wearers. I would say, from my experience, it all depends on the kid. My oldest daughter potty trained at age two, in a day. My youngest potty trained at three, and it took several weeks. It really is luck of the draw I guess!

And, as always, if you have any other eco-friendly potty training tips then do share away in the comments!

The ultimate eco-friendly guide to potty training.