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      Gardening for Children – nurture your child with nature

      30
      April, 2018
      Children love to get mucky in the garden and explore the nature around them. Now that the warmer weather is on its way, it’s the perfect time to take playtime outdoors and get those green fingers in the soil! Gardening is a wonderful activity to ripen children’s physical development and deepen their curiosity of nature. Growing and tending to plants and flowers or even just examining leaves and soil helps your little one start to understand about life cycles and where food comes from. Assigning your child their own little vegetable patch will give them something to care for and nurture. Imagine the excitement cooking with vegetables fresh from the garden! Gardening is wonderful fun for all the family. Here are some top tips to get you started!
      Start simple
      Concerned your little ones might quickly lose enthusiasm? Plant quick sprouting seeds so that children can see the results of their hard work without too much of a wait.  Cress and salad seeds are always a winner for quick and easy veggie growing success.
      Herbs and veg
      Once you’ve mastered these, herbs such as basil and mint or vegetables such as tomatoes or lettuce are a perfect next step.
      Appeal to the senses
      Planting in the garden is a wonderful way to stimulate your child’s senses of touch, sight, sound, taste and smell – soft petals, leaves that crunch, floral scents and vibrant colours all help to enhance your child’s experience of gardening.
      Mini toolkit
      Preparing your child some with some mini tools can be a great way to encourage them to get outdoors and commit to your gardening project! Having a little watering can, rake, trowel and spade can really help build your child’s sense of independence and develop their co-ordination and motor skills.
      Keep little gardeners on task
      Whilst gardening is a very relaxing and mindful activity its more than likely that your child may get bored after spending a certain amount of time on one task. Mix things up and assign them a variety of tasks to keep them interested.
      • Get your children to make plant labels to mark where and what seeds have been planted.
      • Go on a ‘nature hunt’, looking for creepy-crawlies and make a ‘bug hotel’ to keep them comfortable.
      • Encourage them to handle them gently and with care.
      • Teach your child about how bugs are good for the soil and plants.
      • Create a compost heap and explain to your child what you can and can’t put in there.
      Keep your child’s mind active and engaged by asking them lots of questions about your budding crop. Get creative and discuss recipes that you could make with each vegetable, put your acting skills to the test and perform a farm themed play or have fun drawing the vegetables or taking pictures. You may also wish to tell your children about some classic tales such as ‘Jack and The Beanstalk’ and imagine you are planting your own magic beans. Once your crop is ready to pick celebrate with an outdoor picnic and enjoy feasting on your home-grown vegetables.
      Fun and healthy memory making for all the family!
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