Whether it is creating a picturesque, beautiful garden, densely packed with colourful flowers, or sprouting a variety of tasty, nutritious vegetables on an allotment, there can be no doubt that many people are keener than ever to get their hands dirty in the comfort of their own homes, and it is imperative that this passion and vigour is handed down to the next generation.
Gardening can be a great way of spending quality time together. This is especially true of shared projects, where the whole family gets involved. When entrusted with responsibility for a task, and suitable tools (which always make great gardening gifts for budding horticulturalists of all ages), children almost always respond positively.
Keep it Fun
Although gardening certainly has its fair share of laborious, but essential chores, be careful not to offload these onto the kids. It can be tempting, for both parties, to enter into a garden chores-for-cash arrangement too, but this is likely to have your children lose interest quickly.
There are an equal number of challenges and projects which, upon completion, offer rewards in themselves, and these are far more likely to engage and fire young, imaginative minds.
From the youngest age, all children relish digging and playing around in the muck, from soil in the garden, to sandcastles on the beach. This is the perfect introduction to the gardening world! Endeavour to find an area that can act as an exclusive sandbox for the kids, or encourage them to mess around in newly dug areas before they are planted.
Tools for Gardening Gifts
All young children learn by imitating adults. Providing them with their very own gardening tools allows them to get involved with the same activities as the adults, and also gives them something uniquely theirs to treasure.
Many garden tools also come in child friendly, mini sizes, and buckets, spades, rakes, gloves, watering cans and wheelbarrows all make ideal gardening gifts.
Cultivating plants from seed is an elementary task for many gardeners and a perfect starting point for children in the garden. Sowing and growing allows young children to control their own micro-project, whilst enabling them to gain insight into the circle of life and witness the effect of their attentions on a day-by-day, leaf-by-leaf basis.
It can be immensely rewarding to grow something as mighty and breathtaking as a tall, proud Sunflower, or a humble sweet pea, from a mere seed.
Encourage your children to track their creations progress they could measure, or even draw them, at each stage of growth. Stick with fast germinating, quick flowering annuals for the most immediate results (best for short attention spans).
Collecting and Categorising
Like the adults they will one day grow into, many children delight in collecting things, and arranging them into groups.
Think about whats prolific on your plot leaves, flowers, seeds and bark are just a few of the many possibilities and they can all be collected, decorated, sketched, identified and used to create other things.
Terracotta pots take paint very well and are easily decorated. A great method of getting creative in the garden is to encourage children to decorate and then plant their own containers.
Decorations can be painted, glued or tied. Shells, seed-cases, leaves, paint, sand and stones are just a few of the possible materials than can be experimented with. Take the children along to a nursery or garden centre, allocate them a small budget, and select something suitable to plant.
Birds and Bees
Ladybirds are a perennial favourite of children and adult gardeners alike. Many kids have an affinity with animals of all shapes and sizes, and exploring the greenery in search of insects is a popular pastime. Some of these can be collected, identified, and released (with the possible exception of pesky vine weevils!).
Keeping a list of birds that visit the garden, and their activities whilst there, is a good alternative. The definitive garden biosphere is the garden pond the sheer volume and variety of creatures that call it home is astonishing, and a source of wonder to even the most jaded of tots. If that works well, then try building feeders, nest-boxes, habitats and food plants... or perhaps create a new pond from scratch.
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or that special garden gift
for your favourite gardener visit EcoCharlie.co.uk.
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