girls-sowing-sunflowers2160

Garden vegies and other practical ideas for kids

Natalie Crofts has put together some practical outdoor activities to help keep the little ones entertained while much of the nation’s families are spending more (enforced!) time at home.

There’s nothing quite like squishing your hands into the dirt for the first time or smelling a spring flower. Getting out into the garden with your children not only provides a chance to bond, but it will teach your child patience, responsibility, scientific concepts and more about where their food comes from.

newspaper-pots-smallMake newspaper pots

Recycle and grow at the same time with this simple gardening project. Activities like this prove you don’t need to spend lots of money to keep the kids entertained during the holidays.

You will need: 

  • One sheet of newspaper per pot
  • Tin of soup (this is to help shape your pot)
  • Potting mix
  • Garden Trowel*
  • Seeds of your choice (start with herbs and carrots)
  • Comfort 8-Pattern Flow Control Sprayer*

Instructions:

  1. Take one sheet of newspaper and fold it in half lengthways to create a strip.
  2. Place your tin at one end of the newspaper strip, around two inches from the bottom edge, and roll to create a cylinder.
  3. Turn the tin over and fold the newspaper neatly over the end to create a base for your pot.
  4. Remove the tin and fold the top edges of your newspaper pot inwards to create a more durable rim.
  5. Now fill the pot two-thirds of the way up with your potting mix, sprinkle in your chosen seed and top up with soil.
  6. Put your newspaper pots in a deep tray and water with the ‘mist’ setting on your Comfort 8-Pattern Flow Control Sprayer.
  7. Once your seedlings are well established, you can plant them straight into the soil outside without needing to remove the newspaper. Just bury the pot right to the rim and water with the ‘shower’ setting. The roots will soon push through the paper as it decomposes.

Sow sunflowers

Turn this activity into a game of whose sunflower can grow the tallest by the end of the holidays! You can measure the seedlings each day and record their height or take daily pictures to see how quickly your sunflowers grow.

 You will need: 

  • A pot per child (you can use a newspaper pot if you want to try the above activity)
  • Potting mix
  • Garden Trowel*
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Premium 7-Function Spray Gun*

Instructions:

  1. Using the trowel, scoop enough dirt to fill your pot to around two inches from the top.
  2. Scatter a few seeds into the pot – not all seeds will germinate, so it’s OK to have more than one per pot.
  3. Fill the rest of the container up with dirt.
  4. Water with the ‘mist’ setting on your Spray Gun. This gentle spray setting will prevent the seeds from moving around. You should keep the soil moist until the seeds begin to sprout, which will take around one week.

Tip: When the seedlings have their leaves, you can thin them out by planting the seedlings into larger pots or directly into the ground.

pressed-flowers-smallPress some flowers

Let the kids pick their favourite flowers from the garden to preserve in a scrapbook or garden diary.

You will need: 

  • Flowers
  • Handy Snippers*
  • Paper
  • Heavy/thick book
  • Weight such as a brick

Instructions:

  1. The best time of day to pick your flowers is in the morning after any dew has evaporated. Head out and choose the flowers you’d like to press and cut them from the plant using the Handy Snippers.
  2. Next, lay the face of your chosen flower flat on to a piece of paper and place another piece of paper on top.
  3. Insert your flower and papers into the middle of a heavy book (an old book is best as the moisture from the flower can ruin the pages). If the book is thick enough, you can press many flowers at once, just ensure you space them out.
  4. Close the book and pop a weight on top. This could be a brick, more books, or a paperweight.
  5. Wait for around two to three weeks and check how your flowers are doing. They should be dry by this point and ready to remove, but be careful as dry flowers are very delicate.

Harvest veggies

Growing vegetables is a great way to teach your little ones about growing food and healthy eating. You can start by planting something relatively easy to grow like radishes or tomatoes and enjoy watching them get ripe enough to eat. When they’re ready, the kids will love harvesting their first crop. Why not pop your first harvest into a colander and give it a wash in the garden so you can tuck into the delicious fresh veggies straight away? If it’s a rainy day you could bring your harvest in and make a tasty recipe such as homemade tomato ketchup, chutney, salad or soup.

Garden fun for kids brought to you Hoselink* All these items available online.

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