Gardens Illustrated
Growing carrots with the kids
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Gardening you can do with the kids

Published: March 26, 2020 at 1:19 pm

In isolation with the family? Here are a few tips on the sorts of things you can get the kids involved with in the garden

Having a full house can be stressful and finding fun things to do to keep the kids happy can also be hard work. We've put together the below list of simple, entertaining things to do in the garden with the whole family during isolation. For more tips on gardening in isolation, head to our guide.

Highgrove Gardens

Build a bug hotel

Chris Packham CBE and Jamal Edwards MBE have joined forces to show how people can do their bit to help wildlife
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Chris Packham recently urged us all to make sure that we support bugs in our gardens. Why not get the kids to build their very own bug hotel? It should be a multi-storey hotel created from natural materials - think bits of old wood, pipes: anything that's lying around.


Sow some seeds

Seed planting
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Simple, but brilliant. An excellent way to get the kids excited about planting and the garden is to show them what happens when you plant a seed in soil and keep it watered and warm. Shoots will grow... Here's a list of great seed suppliers.


Take part in the Big Compost Experiment

Composting household waste
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Get kids involved with how food breaks down and waste reduction. The Big Compost Experiment is a citizen science experiment which will guarantee to engage the whole clan.


Give them a patch to focus on

Gardening with the kids
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For older kids, it might be worth thinking about offering them a corner of the garden that can be their own and encouraging them to think about what they'd like to plant in it.


Bird watching

A woodpecker
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If you have outdoor space, then you'll have birds near you. Now is the perfect time to get the children to start spotting those gorgeous feathery friends. Get them to note the birds they spot in a little pad. You'll have a family of twitchers before you know it.


Garden reading


There are a host of great children's books on gardening out there. We love I Ate Sunshine for Breakfast, which is very bright and colourful and out next week. It focuses on amazing plants around the world.


Get them digging

Dig with the kids
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A helpful army of volunteers can be an ideal way of getting things done! If you need to dig over a bed or two, get the kids in their wellies and get them a spade or fork. It'll be done in no time.


Dry and press flowers

Pressing flowers
© Andrew Montgomery

Flower pressing is coming back into fashion. And it's a gorgeous way of keeping the lovely blooms for longer. Invest in a flower press and encourage the kids to start picking and pressing for cards, posters and more. Read our feature on a duo who are doing it to excellent effect. 


Let them play

Even if you don't have lots of space, or equipment, there's lots of fun to be had with a bit of mud, water and wellies. Mud pie, anyone?


Try out some cuttings

Growing plants with the whole family
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It's not an easy thing to do, but it might be worth a try for the older members of the family. See whether you can grow new shoots from cutting old plants. Here's our guide on how to propagate chrysanthemums. 


Make a note of the wildlife

Red Admiral Butterfly collecting pollen from Autumn Aster flowers

Take a notebook and get the kids to spot all the animals - slimey and creepy crawly - they see. You could then explore the positives and negatives of having these beasties in your garden. If you're interested in promoting more wildlife, here's tips on how to increase pollinators in your garden. 


Daisy Bowie-Sell is digital editor of Gardens Illustrated. She has previously worked as a journalist for publications including the Daily Telegraph, WhatsOnStage and Time Out London


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