Gardening gives children a sense of responsibility and accomplishment and makes learning about the environment and the connection between plants and people fun. By encouraging kids’ curiosity at a young age, you can help them to develop a love of the outdoors, the environment, fresh food and gardening. It's also a great way to spend time together as a family.
Start peaking a kid's interest about gardening with some fun gardening gear such as colourful gloves, tools and a watering can. Then let your kids get involved in the decision making including what to plant and where to plant to help them feel invested from the outset.
When it's time to get stuck in it's easy to get them involved. Kid's are fascinated by looking for worms and bugs and they love to water just about anything or anyone in the garden. Planting herb and vegie seeds allows children to better understand where our fresh food comes from in an engaging activity. They get to watch these tiny seeds grow as they water them and the excitement as they harvest the fruits of their labour is quite contagious. Carrots are a great vegetable to start them off, as they are easy to grow, look good and taste great. In Sydney, you can sow carrot seeds from August to March.
Activity: growing carrots from seed
1. Choose a pot with good drainage and fill it with quality potting mix or seed raising mix. As carrot seeds are very small it is a good idea to mix them in a jar with sand and sprinkle evenly across the surface of the soil.
2. Once the seeds have been sown, give them a good water with a watering can and keep the soil moist but not wet. Use some liquid fertiliser but don’t over fertilise as this can cause the carrots to split as they develop.
3. When the seedlings appear, thin them out so they are about 2cm apart. The seedlings you remove can be planted in another pot to increase the amount of carrots your kids can pluck.
4. After 3-4 months the carrots will be ready to harvest. Pull one out first to check they're ready and then can be pulled out as needed - it's fine to leave them in the ground until carrots are on the menu!
Other fun projects to try
- Worm farms
- Planting bulbs
- Mushroom kits
- Ant farms
- Growing a herb garden in a pot
- Growing seeds
- Pressing flowers
As Aussie we're aware how important it is to protect ourselves from the sun and it’s important for children to learn this lesson at an early age. When you are out in the garden with your children there are five ways that the Cancer Council recommends to be sun safe:
- Seek shade;
- Wear protective clothing that covers your arms, legs and body;
- Wear a broad-brimmed hat that shades your face and neck;
- Wear wrap-around sunglasses; and
- Apply SPF30+ broad-spectrum water resistant sunscreen every two hours.