Gardening with kids is a fantastic way to keep your little people busy outdoors. It’s a terrific way to get them off screens, out in the fresh air and keeping active. It also gives them a long-term project they can be responsible for and proud of.
Are you ready for some good but maybe not-so-clean fun? Read our top tips for getting the kids out in the garden.
Create a vegetable patch
Creating a vegetable patch has two distinct benefits. It gives the kids an easy outdoor project that involves sowing the seeds and caring for them with regular watering. And then there is the end product – fresh, homegrown veggies! But what we really love about this gardening project is the kids will be encouraged to taste the fruit of their labour. What better way to get the kids to up their vegetable intake?
Some easy to grow vegetables and herbs include tomatoes, zucchini, mint, lettuce, cucumber, parsley and radishes. Most of these vegetables need a little bit of water and sunlight and you’ll find your new harvest is pretty foolproof. You’ll be doing backyard to plate meals with the kids in a matter of weeks.
Make a fairy garden
It doesn’t have to be fairies either – you can make a mini dinosaur garden, or mini jungle with wild animals. The first step is to take the kids shopping for some cute little figurines and stones to decorate their garden. You might like it to be more of a pot plant style garden, or you might give them a section of garden in the yard to nurture.
Choose sturdy plants like succulents or cacti. Natives are also a great choice as they tend to thrive in most Australian backyards. Get the kids to plant their plants and then decorate with all of their decorative elements. And remind them to make it rain on their fairy garden at least once a week.
Dress your kids in their oldest play clothes and gumboots, and then be ready to hose them down when they’re done playing! Kids love messy play so get them out in the yard with some activities designed to get them dirty. They’ll need buckets and shovels, a bit of water and lots of dirt! They might also like to play with sand for this activity.
Let them pick up leaves and sticks from around the yard, make mud pies and soups, and most importantly – they need to get their hands dirty. Let them play in the mess and enjoy the sensory experience without boundaries to stay clean.
There is so much kids can learn from a day in the garden. Get cups and measure the rainfall next time you’re expecting some rain – or if there’s no rain, it’s a good way to teach them about drought and conserving water.
Try growing a carrot from a carrot top, or an avocado tree from an avocado seed. You can even cultivate strawberry seeds to grow strawberries – there are lots of activities where you can take food waste and turn them into new plants.
Or create a project for the wild animals in your yard. It could be building a possum box, or a bird feeder. The reward will be when they see the native fauna popping around for a visit.
Start a worm farm
Kids love worms, and they’re actually great for our gardens. You can throw your organic waste into your worm farm to feed the worms, and they will turn it into a rich fertiliser to feed your gardens.
You can cut down your waste by recycling vegetable and fruit scraps, coffee and tea grounds, vacuum cleaner dust, crushed egg shell and even paper and cardboard scraps like old pizza boxes and egg cartons. Great for the environment and great fun for the kids to feed the worms!
What you’ll need
It’s best to be prepared for a day of gardening with kids. Be sure to stock up on all the necessary tools and things you’ll need to start your backyard project. Make sure you’ve got kid-sized shovels and rakes - and a watering can the kids can be in charge of is a must!
Don’t forget to be sun smart with hats and sunscreen so the kids can enjoy a few hours outdoors without getting burnt. Prepare some picnic style snacks and water bottles to get the most out of your outdoors time.