Now that Spring has well and truly sprung our attentions often turn to the outside world and all that nature has to offer. Many schools now have garden areas where they encourage children to get involved with planting and caring for flowers and vegetables, but there is plenty you can do at home, regardless of the green space you have access to, in order to encourage their love of all things floral.
Perfect Plants for Little People
Young children love the idea of being “big”, and nothing says grown up like having responsibility for something. Whilst you may not be at the stage where you want them to be in charge of looking after an animal, a plant may be the next best thing.
Some of the best plants you can grow from seeds include sunflowers, marigolds and poppies. These are great, colourful plants that will capture children’s interests and they are relatively easy to manage and look after.
If you wanted to go for something bigger, and perhaps start a great memory for your future generations, why not think about planting a tree such as a sycamore or an oak?
Another great idea is to look for sensory plants (especially if you have a child with ASD). Look out for rattling poppy seedheads, furry Stachys byzantina, the beautifully smelly curry plant, lemon balm or chocolate cosmos (which no, are not a cocktail).
For those who want to grow something edible, some of the easiest and low maintenance veg you can opt for include swiss chard, radish, lettuce, courgettes and runner beans.
Most supermarkets now have a growers section, normally in their seasonal aisles, or you can head to your local garden centre for inspiration, and the right tools.
One thing that many children love about being in the garden is all the wildlife that is on display and literally at their fingertips. Whilst your favourite thing in the world might not be playing with worms, or looking for spiders, help encourage your child’s love of nature by building a Bug B&B.
A well built “Home” could provide safety and shelter for a wide number of creatures, from little mini beasts such as woodlice and ladybirds to toads and hedgehogs.
Whilst Autumn may be one of the easiest times to build something (thanks to the availability of straw, dead wood and dry grass), the reality is you can build one at any time of the year and it will always be useful.
You can use anything such as bark, wooden pallets, old logs, bricks, woodchips, roofing tiles, soil and sand or any other (preferably) natural materials you can get your hands on. The idea is to reuse and repurpose rather than going out and buying anything specific to build with.
Once you have constructed your shelter just leave it be and see what decides to pop in for a visit. Why not keep a log of who you find in there, make up stories about where they have been and where they are going? Make sure you take lots of photos, and feel free to pop over to our Facebook page to share them with us – the muckier, the better!