It's Time to Grow! Celebrate National Children's Gardening Week

The last week of May, that’s May 25th to June 2nd is National Children’s Gardening Week when families, teachers and garden centres celebrate the joy and learning that gardening brings.

The entire team here at National Garden Gift Voucher firmly believe that gardening offers innumerable benefits to young people. And indeed, to the people around them. It’s a great outlet for excess energy, inspires a love of being outdoors, teaches our young folk where food really comes from and yes, can help to optimise mental health. But how easy is it to entice youngsters away from their screens and out into the garden? Well, with the range of exciting activities suggested on the Children’s Gardening Week website, you might well find the difficulty comes when you want them to come back in from the garden.

Here’s our pick of things to do during National Children’s Gardening Week.

Garden Activities for Tech-Inspired Youngsters

Nowadays, very few of us get through the day without using technology of some kind and the next generation of gardeners will be no different. So how can we guide them towards using smartphones and tablets to enhance their experience of the outdoors. Here are a couple of ideas.

Encourage your children to make a video about their favourite gardening activities. That might be sowing seeds, building a bug hotel, planting their own flower border or decorating the space with painted rocks.

Set up a home-made outdoor cinema and let them show their video to friends and family.

Alternatively, let them take photos and create a garden collage. OK, so it’s not strictly gardening, but at least they are engaging with their outdoor space and you never know, they might forge a career in garden design.

Technology could be brought into a next-level bug hunt too. Ask the youngsters to find five or more different species of creature in the garden then use an app or a website to identify them. Once the creatures are identified, encourage the children to figure out whether they are friend or foe to the gardeners and suggest how gardeners can encourage useful creatures and/or control unwanted garden visitors.

Child with magnifying glass

Garden Activities for Aspiring Cooks

It’s so important that everyone knows where their food comes from and what goes into producing it. And what better way to learn than by cultivating a herb garden or a veg patch. Children can get involved with preparing the soil (or filling containers) and then choosing seeds and plants from the garden centre.

The younger the children, the quicker they will lose interest in their garden. So, try to aim for a succession of cropping. Cress seeds are an obvious choice for a quick return on investment. Take a look at the National Children’s Gardening Week website for suggestions for growing cress heads. It’s a great rainy-day activity and will open their minds to other seed-growing projects.

Buying tomato plants from the garden centre will give you an opportunity to show children how flowers and then fruits form on the plants. As the fruit ripens, they can use them in different recipes and perhaps save some seed for next year.

Don’t worry if you haven’t got a whole allotment’s worth of space. With a little imagination, household objects can be up cycled to make grow-pots. An old bucket with drainage holes drilled into the base of it is the perfect size for growing carrots. And herbs can be grown in all manner of containers. Just look at this idea for recycling old clothes into plant pots.

Garden Ideas to Fire Up Their Imaginations

Creative projects can occupy children’s hands and minds for hours at a time. A favourite of ours, is making a mini-garden in a container. An old baking tray is ideal, or you can choose from the enormous range of trays, troughs and containers at the garden centre.

Encourage your youngsters to forage for and repurpose items from the garden. Pebbles, twigs, leaves etc and perhaps invest in some mini-plants or some seeds to add detail to the diorama. The mini-garden could be a relaxing space for dollies, a home for toy dinosaurs, a campsite or a farm scene. Once children get engaged in designing and building their garden you’ll find they will adorn it with all sorts of things, including purpose-made structures made with plastic building blocks.

I’m A Gardener Get Me Out of Here

Not every child will be familiar with TV’s “I’m A Celebrity” but most youngsters love a challenge or two. With a bit of planning, you could arrange a series of activities to be completed before being crowned King or Queen of the garden.

It goes without saying that activities will need to be suited to the children’s ages and abilities. But challenges could include (with appropriate help) assembling a bug house, hunting for snails, finding ‘treasure’ in a pot of soil, planting a tree, identifying plants, making a butterfly feeder or re-potting a houseplant.

Develop Their Budgeting Skills

Gardening is more than just digging in the dirt, it encompasses a whole range of skills from hand-eye co-ordination to science and art and design. National Children’s Gardening Week is the ideal opportunity for youngsters to practice their budgeting skills.

By setting them a task and giving them a fixed budget to accomplish it with, they get to learn about making wise choices, looking for bargains and sometimes making compromises.

A great budgeting project could be to present a young person with a National Garden Gift Voucher and ask them to buy what they need to make (for example) a herb garden. They will need to choose a container, think about growing medium and select the plants. Will they choose mature plants or smaller ones? A new container or a repurposed one from home? They will need to be resourceful, innovative, imaginative AND also learn a little about plants. All of which are terrific life skills.

There are lots more activity suggestions for children of all ages on the National Children’s Gardening Week Website. And don’t forget, that many of these ideas can be adapted to any time of year, any sized plot and even indoor gardeners.

Click here to learn more.

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