It’s set to be a record-hot summer, so why not make the most of it by getting your children outdoors in the garden? Spending time out in the garden isn’t just a fun activity to keep them occupied, it’s actually beneficial to their mental health. A survey by The Nature Conservancy found that 90% of children who participated in outdoor activities said it made them feel less stressed. We all benefit when we spend time outdoors amongst nature. So, tear them away from their devices with these simple tips:
Create Their Own Mini Garden
The best way to encourage children to get involved with gardening? Give them their very own mini garden. Not only does it give them the opportunity to get creative with designing their own space, but it helps them develop a new appreciation for nature. They’ll learn how to care for a living thing – even down the consequences of what may happen if they don’t look after their plants! You can help them create a fairy garden, plant their own flower bed or vegetable garden depending on what they’re most interested in and the space you have available.
Give Them the Right Tools
It makes it harder for children to get stuck in with gardening if the tools are too big for their little green fingers. There’s a huge variety of gardening products available that are the perfect size for children, from tiny trowels to mini wheelbarrows. Once you’ve equipped them with suitable tools just for them, they’ll feel even more motivated to get planting, watering and digging. Let them pick out their own tool set to make them feel in control.
Grow Fruit and Vegetables
There’s nothing better than enjoying the fruits of your labour after tending to your garden with lots of love and care. For children, it’s an incredibly exciting moment to see all their hard work pay off! Let your children plant fruits and vegetables that can then be used for family mealtimes – they can help you prepare that too. They’ll be much more likely to eat their five-a-day when it’s something they’ve grown themselves.
Invite Their Friends Over
Children are far more likely to spend time outdoors when they’ve got their friends to play with. So, invite them over as much as you can during the summer months. You can leave them to make their own fun or perhaps head to the local toy store and pick out a few summer games. It doesn’t need to be anything excessive, but games like swing ball or even a little paddling pool will usually keep them occupied for hours – you’ll be needing to drag them away to come indoors!
Of course, if you do have the budget, then a swing or small climbing frame is perfect, particularly if you want to invite more than one friend around. You can also host garden tea parties for your little ones when the weather is nice. Get them all dressed up in girls occasion dresses for a high-tea experience and leave them to play in the garden after while you and the other parents get some much-needed rest!
Get Them Interested in Bird Watching or Wildlife
Getting kids interested in bird watching or wildlife spotting can be a great first step to encouraging them to spend more time in the garden. Especially when you can incorporate their iPad or laptop to help them look up more information about different species and take pictures. You can take this a step further by building a birdhouse together using bits and pieces you’ve found in the garden, or taking wildlife watching outside of your garden and into local parks and playgrounds.
Guest Contributor: Natalie Wilson