Kids are a magnet for dirt, but did you know that they can actually learn from getting dirty in the garden? Not only will these kids gardening ideas encourage them to use all their senses, but they'll also help them to learn where food comes from and appreciate hard work too! These great educational gardening ideas for kids will encourage them to explore the world around them while remaining fun at all times. Who knows – you may soon have your very own Alan Titchmarsh or Carol Klein on your hands!
SOW SOME SEEDS
Seeds are the building blocks of plants and come in so many different shapes and sizes that playing with them can be both fun and highly educational, teaching children all about growth and the life cycle. Start by planting some seeds that grow quickly so children can see the changes happening before their very eyes.
PLAY WITH SCIENCE
By changing the conditions when you grow plants such as removing light or water, you can recreate easy science experiments at home and ask important questions that will help them at school.
MAKE YOUR OWN MINI GREENHOUSE
Don’t have a greenhouse but want to explore exotic plants? Use plastic bottles and boxes to help them create their own little ecosystem!
GET TO GRIPS WITH NUMBERS
Seeds are the perfect tools for exploring numbers as they are tangible and can be held by inquisitive children. By counting seeds children can practice basic mathematics and by counting the days in the life cycle of a seedling, they can start to get to grips with the importance of numbers in daily life. Most excitingly, as plants begin to sprout you can get them to measure daily growth with a ruler, working out the different growing rates and patterns of different plants from sunflowers to carrots. Try these fun number activities to get started:
EXPLORE WITH THE SENSES
Children learn by exploring the world through their senses, so take advantage and make it all a game. For example, plant lots of different coloured flowers to engage them in sight, get them to listen to and mimic garden noises such as birds and bees, and explore the different textures of plants through their fingers and toes. You'll be surprised by how much fun they'll have!
BRING BOOKS TO LIFE
Reading? In the garden? Dig into reading by pairing gardening activities with their favourite books! For example, encourage them to sow seeds with Dr. Seuss or learn about honey with Winnie the Pooh.
Gardening is a perfect way for children to learn about nature as there are plenty of critters large and small for them to come face to face with! Encourage them to be inquisitive rather than scared about the world around them by identifying birds and spotting caterpillars. They’ll soon be kings and queens of the jungle!
INVITE THEM TO STAY
One of the best ways children can learn about animals is by creating homes to invite them into the garden so that they can view them in close quarters.
Why not try your hand at this easy birdhouse?
Of course birds aren't the only animals you can prepare for: you can also create environments to encourage hedgehogs or plant the right flowers to attract butterflies and bees. Or make this cool bug hotel:
GARDEN SCAVENGER HUNT
Being outdoors in the garden can be a great form of exercise for everyone – and the best thing is that you probably won't even realise you are doing it! From digging and planting to watering and running, there’s plenty of opportunity to get fit. Having trouble? Get them active with a garden scavenger hunt:
Children love arts and crafts at the best of times and the garden is the perfect place to let them get creative – especially since they can be as messy as they like outdoors! Why not spruce up boring garden accessories by getting the children to paint or make their own? You can easily create DIY garden markers out of wooden spoons, by adding a lick of paint and drawing or writing on them with Sharpies.
You'll be able to tell your sprouts apart at a quick glance and it will also help children to see the bigger picture when planting tiny seeds, by showing them what the seedlings will grow into.
Don't have spoons to spare? Try this George Home Paint Your Own Garden Stake set!
For more fun ideas, why not paint stones and golf balls to make garden decorations, or even drying and painting flowers!
Scare the Scarecrow
Teach them about thwarting pests by learning how to identify slugs and crows that might nibble at their veggies! For something even more fun, help them to create their very own scarecrow to watch over the veggie patch! Critters - 0, Kids - 1!
START TO COMPOST
Teaching children to compost leftover food is fascinating for them while also introducing them to the concept of food waste. By seeing how they can reuse and recycle, it will hopefully encourage them to be more frugal in future and may even lead to them to question and learn about ways to prevent food waste, such as canning and freezing. Try this easy sandwich bag experiment to start!