At any time when we are out in the garden cutting the lawn or just simply tidying up the borders and trimming back the dead flowers, our children love almost nothing better than to come out and join us. Being out having fun in the fresh air you can pretty much see them grow just as the plants and vegetables do around them, regardless of the weather.
From an early age they have been introduced to our garden through a play area we had in which they had outdoor play equipment, climbing frames etc to keep them entertained, which left us in peace for the more serious jobs around the garden or whilst we were entertaining friends. As they grew and became more fascinated by what we were doing to make the garden look pleasing, so they became more attracted to how the plants we planted grew so we introduced them to sowing seeds and growing plants. Starting off in basic terms we bought a few tools for them to help us with the jobs we were doing.
A small trowel, a mini wheelbarrow, a brush, a dustpan and of course a watering can were the ideal tools to start with. Our first lesson in growing was to purchase a few small pots of herbs such as Sage and Thyme and Rosemary, which were planted into seed trays, and after that into a planter box, which we helped them tend until the plants were big enough to feel and touch and of course add to our meals. This has now come to be our herb garden, which they take great satisfaction in maintaining.
This motivated us along with the children to want to experiment with more. We built a small pond and with their help planted and grew water lilies and put in a few small fish, which as time passes they have watched grow to become bigger fish, and this has given them an interest in the outdoors further away from the home and garden.
We have encouraged them to learn that by taking a cutting from a plant and placing into water in a jar or similar container it is simple to grow a plant from that cutting that can be transferred to the garden and over time they see a plant take root and from careful nurturing grow into something new and strong.
Being fortunate to live in an area which offers us a chance to keep outdoor animals, we introduced the children to fresh free range eggs by investing in a couple of chickens to keep. We all loved the simple pleasure of eating fresh eggs each morning, but the satisfaction of looking after the chickens daily was great for the children and got them out into the garden every day looking for eggs and taking care of the chickens. Needless to say, the garden is not all about work and just as it is for us as adults they love nothing more than to have their friends over to play.
Making the most of the outdoor equipment we have gives them lots of opportunity to play with their friends and we love to get out and join them with an alfresco dinner in the gazebo as the sun starts to disappear. Our gazebo is great for dining and is used for all sorts of occasions whether that is for birthday parties, ad hoc barbecues or even as a potting shed when the weather is not so kind to us.
Gardening together with the kids is great fun, and with a little confidence and belief all children will see the garden as a great place to have fun in, for playing and for learning about nature.
The chicken houses above are available from Omlet: www.omlet.co.uk
The above seed pack is available for Seed Pantry: www.seedpantry.co.uk
Guest Blog From Mr Young – Warwickshire
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