Tips for Parents on Educating Children in the Garden
Gardening and exploring outside is a fantastic way to spend time as a family! Whether it’s planting flowers or vegetables, hunting for bugs, building bird feeders or creating special habitats to attract wildlife to your garden there are many great way for children to get in touch with nature and learn whilst having fun!
The importance of introducing children to their natural surroundings has now been integrated into the National Curriculum as early as Key Stage 1. This not only gradually teaches children the importance of plants and nature, but life cycles, effects of seasons and even ventures into healthy eating.
Give Them Space
Whether it be a pot, planter, raised bed or even their own little veg patch, giving them their own area to design, plant and care for will help encourage them to take ownership of their new plants and of course, whatever fantastic results they achieve will be all their own doing!
Make It Fun
Paint your own pots, build your own bird boxes, create special places to encourage wildlife into your garden, make a bird feeder or even just make plant labels from lollipop sticks... the possibilities are endless. There is so much fun to be had whilst you learn about plants, wildlife and even upcycling or recycling household items for outdoor use.
Reap The Rewards
Many children believe that fruit and veg only comes from the local supermarket, realising that they are eating chips and carrots that were one in the ground (!!!) can have quite amusing reactions. Make the most of their enthusiasm and encourage them to grow tasty but healthy options. Blueberries are full of antioxidants and taste great fresh from the bush, or baked in yummy muffins. Kale has an abundance of vitamins crammed into it and makes wonderfully tasty Kale crisps - far healthier than normal crisps!
The Good The Bad and The Ugly
Whilst you are out in the garden, why not teach your eager little gardeners about the importance of insects. There are many good (beneficial) insects in our gardens which help protect our plants from the bad guys and pollinate our flowers to produce wonderful crops. It's important to point out that whilst in most cases the adult form is one on beauty, the larval form is generally one of ..... less beauty. So make sure our good guys don't get squished by mistake by bug hunting throughout the year to find bugs at various stages.
As they say 'Everyday is a school day' so let's see what we can learn from our garden. Does feeding a plant make a difference? Is garden soil as good as compost? Does sunlight make a difference? Does playing music to plants help them?
Choose your experiment and log your findings on a weekly or monthly basis - plant height, number of flowers, number of branches... you choose what to measure. Then at the end of the growing season see if you have made any findings.
Why not send us in your findings? Our experts will analyse your experiment and give you valuable feedback.
As well as the activities and information on this website, the following links will take you to other websites specifically intended to get children out and about. Including games and projects which can be done as a family as well as further information regarding projects and lessons being encouraged in schools - why not get involved?