LITTLE GREEN FINGERS

Kitchen Garden|May 2020

LITTLE GREEN FINGERS
There are many creative ways you can engage your children in the great adventure of gardening, as Janice Hopper explains
Janice Hopper

We are regularly encouraging our young children to contribute in our kitchen-garden because we’d like them to know where their food comes from and be part of the team. Children can climb trees, build dens, splash in paddling pools and essentially play in the garden, but they can contribute and pull their weight too, especially if there are games, rewards, and adventures built into every task.

If you’re encouraging your children, or grandchildren, to get gloriously green-fingered, then here are some handy ideas, tips, and hacks.

DIG FOR TREASURE

Engage children through vocabulary – you’re not digging for mere spuds, you’re digging for treasure! Who can fill their treasure chest (bucket) to the very top? Grandad, or little Ben? The glint of a potato in the soil is a real life treasure hunt, rather than a backbreaking chore. Subtly educate children by sharing what type of treasure they are seeking – is it ‘Maris Piper’, ‘Ayrshire’ or ‘Cornish King’?

BONFIRES

At the beginning, make sure that gardening tasks are disguised as fun, with a rewarding outcome that children understand and enjoy. For example, if you want the garden cleared of detritus, promise the kids a bonfire. The draw of fire is primeval, whatever your age! With the lure of a conflagration, most tots will get raking and sweeping in no time. If a bonfire isn’t practical, opt for a firebin, campfire, or light sticks gathered from the garden in the hearth. Marshmallows are usually a hit too. (Fire blankets, extinguishers, water, and standing a safe distance from the flames must all be considered.)

START A RACE

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May 2020