SPRING PROJECTS TO DO WITH THE KIDS (GARDENING)
Part 1: Gardening with children
Spring is here again! This spring we are facing a coronavirus health alert so the teachers at TopKidz have brainstormed some projects that you can do with the family in the safety of your own home.
This week we are focusing on spring gardening projects with the kids. We hope you will find the article useful. Happy gardening!
Gardening with Children
Spring is the best time to start your gardening project. Gardening is healthy and fun for children. They get plenty of sunshine, some exercise and new knowledge about nature and science. Some of the activity kids can do in the garden include weeding, mulching, planting, and harvesting.
Before you start gardening with the kids, make sure the garden is safe. Ensure you have enough equipment including kids-friendly gardening tools, gates, fences, gloves, sunhat, sunscreen, and long-sleeve sun safety clothing.
1. Why gardening is good for children
Gardening is not just a fun activity it keeps your kids healthy and strong. They also develop a range of skills and abilities. Here are some benefits of gardening:
Physical wellbeing – Gardening is an outdoor activity that will give kids plenty of sunshine, fresh air, and exercise.
Knowledge and discovery – Learning about cause and effect (for example the relationship between water and plant growth), weather, nutrition, animal, and plant life
Responsibility – Understanding about caring and nurturing plants
Love of nature – Learning about Mother Nature and our environment
Self-confidence – Discovering how their contribution can deliver positive results
Cooperation – Learning how to work together as a team
Creativity – Developing their creative skills (for example designing the colour theme for the flower bed)
2. How to get kids interested in gardening
Getting the kids off their computers and mobile devices into the garden requires patience and a little persuasion. Here are some simple tips to help them get outdoors:
Start with a simple gardening project (for example a small flower bed for the front lawn, an herb garden in a pot or a small vegetable plot)
Give the kids their gardening plot (for example a few pots or a small square of soil)
Get the kids to be involved in the design and planning (let them suggest colours and flowers they like)
Encourage them to get their hands dirty by digging the dirt. Toddlers will love the opportunity to play in the garden)
Grow things that interest your children (for example, strawberries, tomatoes, flowers, herbs)
Turn gardening into a classroom by teaching them about science and nature.
Teach them about garden pests. Make a scarecrow together
Set up a mulching project and teach the kids about composting
Set up a cute worm farm
Install a water feature, sundial, birdbath, and other interesting features that can attract your kids out into the garden
Visit a community garden, botanical garden, children farms to develop an interest
Watch a gardening show on television with the kids
The Royal Botanical Garden of Sydney (RBGSYD)
The Royal Botanical Garden of Sydney (RBGSYD)– Easily accessible in the CBD, the Royal Botanical Garden of Sydney is a must-visit venue this year. The management has taken special COVID-19 Safe precautions to keep visitors safe.
If you are planning a visit to the garden, we recommend:
The Aboriginal Heritage Tour – to learn about the Cadigal people’s rich history. The Cadigal People are the original owners of the Sydney city area. This gardening walkabout will teach the kids about their culture, histories, artefacts, and bush food.
You will get plenty of inspiration and ideas about gardening. The RBGSYD has an amazing website filled with podcasts, videos, and gardening tips you can explore with your kids after the visit. Check out their website here
3. How to choose plants for children
Make choosing plants and flowers part of the gardening project. A garden centre is full of interesting and pretty things that will pique their interest.
Kids love plants because they come in an array of sizes, colours, scents, textures, and tastes.
Here are 5 plants to grow with the kids:
5. Practise Social Distancing
Social distancing can reduce the spread of infection. The prescribed distance is 1.5 metres or approximately 2 arms-length.
Parents must teach their kids to maintain a safe distance from others when they are out in the park.
While most businesses in Sydney can still operate with strict social distancing guidelines, worried parents may want to minimise family outings to places that can potentially expose family members to a gathering of people. Such activities can include going to a popular park or the waterfront on weekends, visiting a shopping centre or having a meal at a popular café or restaurant. The small sacrifices we make to our lifestyles can keep our family safe.
Kids love the magical name. The blooms have special little hinges that allow the top part of the plant to open from the bottom up. They attract plenty of buzzing bees and insects to the garden.
An early spring flower, pansies are bright and colourful with happy little faces that your kids will love. They grow well in a pot or on a flower bed. Edible varieties are wonderful garnishes for cakes, salads, and desserts.
As cute as its name. The leaves resemble a lamb’s ear – soft, white, and furry. Kids love touching it.
Easy-to-grow and low maintenance, sunflowers grow quickly into tall giant blooms that will fascinate the kids We recommend growing sunflowers from seeds because it’s fascinating.
Strawberries grow well in a pot. Picking their strawberries from the garden will become an adventure for the kids.
Want more plant suggestions? Drop us a line today and we will be happy to share our personal gardening experience with you.
Need some help finding a good garden centre to take the kids to? Try our suggestions here:
Growing Friends Nursery – Located in the Royal Botanical Garden, this is a good place to visit after your trip to the botanical gardens. You can buy all the plants you need to start your very first gardening project with the kids. Best for Australian natives
Eden Gardens – A nursery, florist, café, and children’s playground all rolled into one. The perfect place to take the kids to nurture their gardening interest.
Flower Power – One stop shop for all your gardening needs. We suggest going to their Mascot branch
Butterfly Blooms Garden Centre – The kids will love the butterflies on the walls. You can catch the train instead of driving and make it a fun day out for the kids.
Honeysuckle Garden – Close to home. They have an amazing collection of quirky garden hoses.
Sydney Wildflower Nursery – Located in Heathcote, this garden centre can be turned into a weekend excursion for the kids. They specialise in bush food and can give you plenty of advice for your project
4. How to plan gardening activities for children
Plan your spring gardening activities to suit the age groups of your children. Toddlers and younger children will require supervision in the garden. Suitable activities for younger children include digging, planting seeds, watering plants, and harvesting. Older children can have more physical activities like digging, carrying, planting, mulching, and weeding.
Here are some suggestions for activities for children in the garden. Choose the best one for your child/children’s ages:
Composting, recycling, and mulching
Feeding the worms
Replanting and repotting
Picking vegetables and fruits
Picking seeds and grains
Making craft using harvested seeds, plants, and flowers
Preparing healthy food from the garden (for example salads and lunches)
5. How to keep children safe in the garden
Child safety is essential when gardening with children. Here are some things you can do to ensure your child is safe in the garden:
Use the right gardening tools
Keep sprays and fertilisers out of reach from children
Do not use chemicals in the garden. Use organically safe products only
Store equipment and tools away
Secure fences and gates
Provide shade in summer for example umbrellas or shade cloth
Make sure the kids are protected from the sun with sunscreen hat and sun-safe clothing
Make sure the kids have proper gumboots
Do not leave buckets of water unattended around young children and toddlers