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Little green fingers: turning kids into gardeners

Gardening
Written by Steven White

Learn how to encourage kids into the world of gardening with the help of an expert.

Alana Cama, the Royal Horticultural Society Schools and Groups Programme Manager, gives us some sage (pun intended) advice for parents wanting to expose their children to the wonderfully rewarding activity of gardening.

What benefits will kids gain from gardening?

It’s really important for us all to know that food doesn’t just come from a supermarket. Learning how to grow our own fruit and veg from a young age can help foster an appreciation for the time and work that goes into the produce we eat.

Growing plants and being closer to nature is also hugely beneficial to our wellbeing. Many adults will have fond memories of being out in the garden with a parent or grandparent at a young age and these memories last. Being outdoors makes us feel free and gardening is a very mindful task that can be just as rewarding for you as it is for your children.

How can parents encourage kids to first try gardening?

Sparking excitement around growing plants and being out in the garden is the best way to inspire children to want to learn more.

Find a small space for your child to use, even a pot or crate will do. Encourage them to have a go at growing a few seeds or plug plants to see what happens. There’s nothing quite like getting to watch the first few seedlings popping up and it’s a magical moment for children to dig up some tasty carrots or potatoes from the ground. Even if it doesn’t work out the first time, that’s all part of learning how to garden.

Build a bug hotel or bird feeder together to welcome wildlife into your garden. Bug hotels don’t have to be huge but children will love checking to see which residents have moved in. It’s also a great way to teach children about different insects and to learn not to be afraid of our friendly bugs.

Grow something amazing together. Maybe have a competition to see who can grow the tallest sunflower or grow something weird and wonderful like cucamelons, purple carrots or popcorn.

If you’re short on space, sensitive plants (Mimosa pudica) can be grown indoors on a windowsill and are really fun because their leaves move when you touch them. Some of these take time and patience but the payoff is fantastic.

Read the rest of the article here in the spring ’20 issue.

Main image credit: Luke McGregor

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