If you are a keen gardener, but also have a little one, you might have been putting off tending to your plants and flowers because it’s not a toddler friendly activity. Admittedly, not all garden jobs are safe, as some can involve sharp objects or cutting implements, but these can be held back for another time. Children love being in the outdoors, even if it’s just in your back garden- so putting all the adult jobs aside- there are a few things your child can help you with to encourage them to be green fingered too!
- Potting plants: Toddlers love nothing more than getting mucky, so if you have some flowers or plants to pot, they will enjoy getting their hands dirty as they dig a hole, place the new life in the soil and pat it flat to neaten it up. While you may not trust them with a trowel- a cheap plastic or wooden spoon will do the trick so there are no accidents.
- Watering plants and flowers: A small and colourful watering can will only set you back a couple of pounds and you can do this activity together when your greenery needs a little helping hand. It teaches your child from a young age that to have a thriving garden, you can’t simply rely on the weather to take care of it.
- Collecting garden rubbish: If your garden is a target for leaves, sticks or thin branches from overhanging trees, get your toddler involved with picking these up. If they can’t reach the top of your recycling bin, choose a bucket or a plastic bowl that they can easily place whatever they find in for you to then decant into your bigger green bin.
- Filling up the bird feeders: If you have a feeding area for the birds and keep a large bag of seed to hand, ask your toddler to top up the feeders to encourage them to think about the welfare of the wildlife in your garden. If you see any birds eating what they have put out- be sure to show them so they understand the importance of feeding their winged friends when food is scarce.
- Filling up the bird bath: Explain to your toddler that the birds need a drink too, so your little one will want to keep the bird bath topped up- especially now as the warmer weather is on its way and the birds will want to visit it more regularly.
- Labelling: If you are keen to teach your toddler about the different kinds of things that grow in your garden, you could invest in some markers or labels and walk around with your little one to put them all in place. They will become familiar with names they wouldn’t ordinarily come across which will help to expand their vocabulary and broaden their knowledge of plant life.
- Decorating: If you have invested in a few news items for your garden, involve your toddler in putting them out. Light garden ornaments, small plastic plant pots or solar lights for example are all about the right size for your toddler to handle and if they choose where they go, they will feel a sense of ownership too.
As with all toddler activities make sure you supervise them while they are in your outdoor space- especially if gardening is something that's new to them and if they have a tendency to put things in their mouth.
Once you are done and if the weather permits- have a picnic on the grass or blow some bubbles and enjoy the tidy space you’ve created to play in!
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