The great Australian dream was (and still is) a big house with a plentiful garden. But in our day and age, fresh green grass and brilliant sunshine are often passed up in favour of screens and phones.
As mums, we know that clean air and running around outside are vital for our children’s wellbeing and development. So too, is getting their hands dirty by mucking around in the garden bed.
So, if getting outside and into the garden ticks all our mummy boxes for raising healthy kids, how do we get them to do it? (And not make it seem like a chore?)
Read on for 10 tips to get your kids out of the house and into the garden.
1. Show, then tell
Hop online and search out different types of vegetables and flowers that you can add to your garden. Let them choose one or two they like (within reason, of course!). For older kids, show them how some plants, especially herbs, can have unique medicinal properties too.
2. One of their very own
Some kids work well independently. Let kids like these have a small patch of their very own, where they can plant seeds wherever they like and rake the soil to their heart’s content.
3. Bring them along
Bring them along with you when you next head over to your local gardening or tool shop. A prettily-patterned hand trowel or a new pair of fits-just-right gardening gloves can go a long way by encouraging your kids to use them! Some places even go as far as selling John Deere kids toy ride-on lawn mowers and various ‘mini-versions’ of adult outdoor tools. You are your children’s idol after all, so if Dad has a John Deere mower we’re pretty sure the little one wants to be just like Dad too!
4. Make the hard work fun
Ever hold a weed-pulling contest? Now’s your chance! Set a timer and see which kid can pull the most weeds in five or ten minutes. Then repeat until all the weeds are gone. Winner gets the bragging rights at the dinner table!
5. Flower chains and crowns
There probably isn’t a little girl (and many little boys too) in existence that hasn’t dreamed of making her own flowery headband, daisy chain, or crown. In exchange for her helping you plant and water, let her pick a few flowers and see what beautiful creation you both can come up with.
6. You are what you eat
Having your own home-grown cucumbers and basil is great. But what about dandelion flowers in a salad? Pull out a foraging book and show the kids how some plants and flowers (properly identified, of course) can also be eaten.
7. Scrap composting
Compost vegetable peelings and egg shells in a small part of the garden (without meat, there’ll be little or no smell). Your kids will marvel to see how it turns into beautiful, fluffy soil that can be re-used in the garden.
8. Get creative with signs
Can’t remember whether you planted capsicums or lettuce? Get out the paint set and have your kids paint some pebbles in bright, bold colours to serve as plant markers as you go along.
9. See sprouts close up
Start your seeds’ sprouting not by popping them in the ground, but rather in a jar or on a damp paper towel. They’ll be hypnotised as they see the seeds crack open and start sprouting, and will rush to plant them in the garden.
10. Share your experience
Let your kids post photos of their gardening efforts to your Facebook page, or bring some cuttings for show-and-tell at kindy. When they get positive feedback, they’ll be more likely to dash for the garden instead of the TV when they get home.
Here’s cheers to some happy gardening!
Let us know below what your favourite tips are for getting the kids excited about being in the garden in the comments below!
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