Entertaining kids over the Easter school holidays can be a daunting and expensive prospect so here are some ideas to inspire parents and little ones to get their hands dirty with some fun, interactive and engaging activities in the garden.
Angie Thomas, Horticulturist, said given the chance most children will become enthralled by the magic of gardening, especially if they have their own plot or pot to look after.
“Many kids have little idea that peas grow in pods on a plant or that the beetroot in a hamburger didn’t start its life in a tin. School holidays are the ideal time to start growing and follow the plant right through until it’s ready for picking and eating,” Angie said.
Here are Angie’s top gardening activities for families to enjoy over the holidays:
Nurture some nasturtiums
As nasturtium seeds are large they’re easy for kids to handle and the perfect plant for beginners to grow. They have vibrant flowers and trailing foliage so can be planted into a hanging basket. Seed should be sown 12 millimetres deep and spaced evenly around the basket which you can fill with quality potting mix. Encourage little ones to help water the nasturtiums every day and let them mark a calendar when it’s done. They can also count down the days to help build excitement around when the first seedlings are due to pop through!
Grow your own snacks
Strawberries are a delicious, healthy snack and ideal to pack in school lunch boxes. Growing your own is an exciting activity for kids and provides a real sense of achievement. Plant seedlings in a small raised bed, medium size pot, hanging basket, balcony or courtyard that receives around six hours of sunshine each day. For container-grown strawberries, fill a pot with good potting mix and feed them each week with a liquid fertiliser and keep soil moist. Watch out for pesky birds and try to keep eager little fingers away until the berries are ripe!
Go hunting for mini-beasts
Gardens are full of fascinating insects and creatures just waiting to be discovered. Create a mini-beast treasure hunt list and take the kids on a trip around your backyard to help them find as many as possible. Your list could include slaters, earthworms, lizards, caterpillars, butterflies, ladybirds, snails and birds. To keep them busy for longer, encourage children to choose their favourite, draw a picture and research a few details. This is a great way to get them to learn in a fun environment.
Make mum’s day
A small decorated pot planted with a flower or tasty herbs makes a special gift for Mother’s Day and it’s an easy kids project. Terracotta pots are ideal as they’re cheap to buy and water based child friendly paints will stick to the surface. Use small paint brushes, sponges or even little fingers and a mix of water based paints to decorate a special pot. Apply a coat of PVA glue for a lasting finish. Plant a small flower or sow some herb seeds like chives. Keep the soil moist while the seeds or plant establishes. When your kids are ready to give mum or grandma the gift, tie a colourful ribbon around the pot.
Get egg-cited for Easter
Use empty egg shells to grow some mini plants like cress, microgreens or grass seed. Paint the egg shells first in bright colours, fill with some potting mix and then add the seeds. Keep the mix moist (but not saturated) and watch for the first seedlings to emerge.
Main image source: ShutterStock