Gardening for kids is essential outdoor play and learning - and we don't need to leave the house to do it
Wondering how to cultivate a green thumb in your little ones? Gardening has myriad benefits for children - here's how to get them planting.
As we enter a period of social distancing and more time spent at home, getting our urban kids into gardening - whether turning old welly boots into planters or dedicating some garden space to making things grow - is ever more important.
Why is planting the seed for an interest in gardening so important for children? Let us count the ways: gardening can get children to spend more time outdoors and away from their screens. It can help educate them about the environment - after all, mass tree planting can help combat global warming (we hope). Gardening is also a mindful activity, promoting a feeling of being in the now that can help ease anxiety and worries.
Gardening can also teach kids that all-important lesson of where food comes from - crucial if we want our children to learn to eat healthily, and integrate lots of fruit and vegetables into their diets.
For London kids, who may not have gardens at home, spending time in the soil can be hugely beneficial. As the RHS's Alana Cama, Schools and Groups Programme Manager, says:
"Getting children gardening is a great way to spark their interest in the natural world. It’s an easy way to help them discover where our food comes from, improve their health and wellbeing, and teach them to look after the environment."
Here are some tips and ideas to inspire a love of gardens - and gardening - in your children.
Find a friendly gardening initiative
Whether you're an urban mouse or a country one, there are plenty of initiatives around the UK to get kids planting, from Innocent's Big Grow, Grow Your Own Potatoes, The Garden Classroom and the RHS Campaign for School Gardening, which has resources, competitions and more for kids to get stuck into. Alana Cama gave us a few of her top tips for getting kids excited about gardening:
- Give them their own garden
- Get MUDDY!
- Choose quick growers
- Go wild with a bug hotel
- Make a mini pond
- Try something tasty
- Introduce the weird and wonderful
- Garden for good!
- Cook and eat
- The cycle of life
A lack of outside space doesn't mean you can't create an urban oasis in London: just decorate your urban interior with plants to embrace the most natural thing in the world, our connection with nature (aka biophilia).
If you need some inspo on how to do this, check out coworking space Second Home, a plant and light-filled oasis with live moss and hanging ferns to ensure nature is always there, even when you're mid client-call.
At your actual home, a few plants in the kitchen is a good start - and getting the kids to learn to take care of them (water, sunlight), is even better, while house plants in baby's nurseries are having a moment in interiors right now. Some families may even be interested in schemes like Rewild My Street, which offers resources to help encourage wildlife back into your street and garden.