The outdoors is an enchanting place for children to explore; there’s plenty of soil to dig, bugs to find and pots to fill. Gardens offer the perfect opportunity for children to learn about nature – and have fun doing so!
National Children’s Gardening Week is an annual celebration that encourages both children and adults to get in the garden. The celebration, running this year from the 29th of May to the 6th of June, is devoted to inspiring children to start growing plants and enjoy the endless fun that the outdoors has to offer.
Held at the end of May, National Children’s Gardening is enjoyed at the optimal time for getting children in the garden. With the weather warming (fingers crossed!), the week offers almost instant results in the garden, where popular plants can be planted without the fear of frost and the need for protection.
Whether your outdoor space is a back garden, balcony or an allotment, there are plenty of engaging activities to get children involved. We’ve compiled a list of some of our favourite ideas – deciding where to start will be your biggest challenge!
- Create garden markers to show what you’re growing. These could be made of anything, from recycled wooden sticks to painted stones.
- Hand paint some terracotta pots, ready to fill with colourful blooms.
Find and Attract Wildlife
- Go on a bug hunt. Look under rocks and roll logs out the way to see what creatures and hiding beneath.
- Looking for more wildlife? Make a bug hotel! Fill an open box or flowerpot with natural materials found in the garden, such as bamboo canes, twigs, pinecones, stones and dried grass. This will create a home for a range of insects, from solitary bees to ladybirds.
- Create a container pond. A small and easy alternative to a wildlife pond, children will love getting wet and muddy in this activity. Fill a large, shallow container with pond plants and water. Position it so that frogs can easily get in and out. Make sure to keep the water topped up to attract wildlife time and time again.
Time to Grow
- Give children their own patch of the garden! Even if it’s just a few pots, giving children their own area of the garden will give them a sense of ownership and responsibility for planting and growing.
- Grow your own greens.
Space to Play
- Make a den! Use bamboo canes and branches to make a tipi-like structure. These can lean against a tree, fence or a wall, or be tied at the top with string for a freestanding structure. You could even grow runner beans up your den, for a multifunctional space to play in and grow food.
It’s time to grab a spade and get your hands mucky…
Happy National Children’s Gardening Week!