5 Fun Gardening Activities for Kids
As this week is National Children’s Gardening Week, we thought we would share 5 fun gardening activities for kids. Children enjoy growing plants and being out and involved in gardening activities, but they are often impatient, and a lot of the growing process can take some time! National Gardening Week aims to capture children’s enthusiasm at a time when results are immediate and takes place annually at the end of May.
We may be slightly biased in saying that gardening is a great and fun activity, but it has been researched that being out in the garden can make a positive impact on our health and well-being. For our little oaks these benefits can include:
- Building self-esteem
- Making them feel happy
- Good for socialising with family / develops social skills
- Boosts Vitamin D
- Growing their own food, encouraging healthy eating
It’s also a great learning curve and point of discussion. Sensory development is a further benefit of being outdoors. Gardening will engage all sorts of senses and helps children recognise them without even realising! Who knew learning could be so fun?
So, keeping with National Children’s Gardening Week’s theme, here are 5 fun gardening activities for children to enjoy where results are, mostly, immediate:
- Make a miniature garden!
This is such a fun activity to get stuck into and will allow so much room for creativity. All you need to do is have a hunt around the garden (or a local park) and find some interesting bits and bobs to put into your mini garden. Psst, that unwanted moss in the garden could be great as grass in the mini gardens!
Once you’ve got a little haul from the garden, find some unused plant pots (or perhaps a sturdy cardboard box that’s going out for recycling) and fill them with soil. From here, the kids can go off into their own creative world and come up with a miniature garden that reflects their own interests! This is a great exercise, perfect for all ages, as it can be as simple or as complicated as they like! It could also encourage further crafts if they want to really take their gardens to the next level with themes of interest such as fairies, football, dinosaurs, or a safari.
A simple, laid-back nature craft, no rules or fiddly crafting involved; just lots of imagination.
- Mini Pond
Adding a pond to your garden is one of the most effective things you can do to encourage wildlife into your garden. Children will enjoy watching the wildlife visit the mini pond and they can create it just how they like!
For this activity you will need:
- A spade
- Small stones or gravel
- Bigger stones or rocks
- Pond plants
- Plants for around the edges
- A spare container the size of the pond you want to create (something such as an old washing up bowl or an old plant pot with no holes)
- First, you’ll have to collect some rainwater using a water butt. Alternatively, you can decant tap water into a container and leave it outside for a few days for chlorine levels to reduce.
- Find a sunny spot in your garden, free from falling leaves and dig your hole for your pond! It must be big enough to fit your container but not too sunken into the ground.
- Now you can start with putting in the small stones and gravel at the bottom of your container and adding the larger stones and rocks to the corners. If your water isn’t already in the container, you can add it in now!
- It’s important to the wildlife that if anything falls in, such as a hedgehog, that it can climb back out. This can be done with a log or a branch that you can place across the pond.
- Finally, you can introduce your pond plants! Pond plants will oxygenise the water and provide interesting habitats for the wildlife. Along with the pond plants, you can also add some native plants around the edges of your pond to give shade and support bug life!
And there you have it! In just 5 easy steps you have created your very own mini pond. Now watch as the wildlife find their way to your garden!
- DIY Recycled Bottle Greenhouse
A slightly fiddlier exercise, one for the older children; making a DIY Bottle Greenhouse. Here at the Old Railway Line, we’re passionate about re-using and recycling so we love this activity. You can use the DIY greenhouse to grow seeds in the windowsill. This will teach our little oaks the art of patience when it comes to growing your own plants and will give them the satisfaction of knowing they’ve grown and nurtured something all on their own in a house that they’ve made themselves.
For this activity you will need:
- A clear plastic bottle
- A skewer
First, you will need to remove the lid from the bottle. Rather than discarding the lid, maybe it could be used as a mini pond for a mini garden from activity 1! After removing the lid, make a few holes in the bottom of the bottle with a skewer and then cut off the top half of the bottle with scissors. Now that the bottle is in 2 halves, add compost to the bottom half, plant some seeds and water! Best type of seeds to plant in your DIY greenhouse are beetroot, celery, lettuce, basil, parsley.
Once the seeds are planted and watered, fit the top half back on over the bottom half of the bottle, place on a dish or tray to catch any drips and pop it onto a sunny windowsill! Make sure to keep the seeds well-watered and watch them grow!
When they get big enough to handle, transplant the seedlings into pots or plant in the garden. You can then start the process all over again with your DIY Greenhouse!
- 5 Senses Scavenger Hunt
Now onto activity number 4, another fun one for all ages. This can be done in the garden or out in a wider area if you’re feeling adventurous! This could, actually, tie into activity number 1 if you do this activity first.
For this activity, all you’ll need to do is set up a checklist beforehand including anything you like for the children to have to find. Here we have an example of a checklist that you can download and print out:
The checklist can be as long or as short as you like and you could challenge them by asking for 2 or 3 objects for each bullet point. This activity, as the name suggests, gets all 5 senses involved and is fun for the kids to go off and explore to see what they can find.
Since this activity involves finding objects, it might be a nice idea to do this activity and then go straight into activity number 1 and see what sort of garden they can create with the objects they find.
5. Pinecone Bird Feeder
And now an activity to attract the birds to your garden! An easy, cheap (cheep), and effective way to attract birds to your garden. A perfect activity for arts and crafts fanatics with very rewarding wildlife results.
Here’s what you will need:
- Large, dry pinecones
- Raisins and peanuts
- Grated Cheese
- Suet or lard
- A mixing bowl
How to make the birdfeeder:
- Allow the lard to warm up to room temperature and then cut up and mix in a bowl with the raisins, peanuts, cheese, and birdseed.
- Tie your pinecones together with string by going under the spines and around the tops.
- This is where it gets messy! Using your hands, pack the mixture tightly into the gaps in the pinecones. Fit in as much as you can!
- You will then need to allow this to set in the fridge for about an hour or so.
- Now you’re ready to hang your feeder high up in your garden for the birds to enjoy!
Why not print off a wild bird checklist and tick off what birds visit the garden?
Happy bird watching!
There we have 5 garden activities that you and your little ones can get stuck into this week and over the summer. If you decide to give any of them a go, feel free to send us a picture of your creations over on our social media channels as we’d love to see them!
Facebook: Old Railway Line Garden Centre
For more fantastic activities to get stuck into, visit the National Children’s Gardening Week page here.
Hopefully this blog has inspired you to get out in the garden this week! Enjoy your summer together in the garden!