Wasn’t it lovely to see the Duchess of Cambridge and her family last week enjoying the Back to Nature garden at the Chelsea Flower Show? The Duchess was co-designer of the garden, and the photographs gave the impression of an enticing woodland area with lots of activities meant to encourage children to enjoy the outdoors.
Designed as a ‘woodland wilderness’ the garden was perfect for the youngsters. Pictures showed Princess Charlotte on a rope swing, Prince George splashing barefoot in a stream and Prince Louis running delightedly in his wellies, waving a hazel twig. The garden included a den, campfire, and treehouse. You can read more about it here.
Whilst not all of us have a garden with a woodland and stream, there are lots of ways to encourage children to have fun in the outdoor space you do have. Here are just a few ideas:
- If you have space for a small vegetable patch, there’s nothing like growing vegetables and salad. Salad is a quick win as it grows quickly. If you don’t have the space, try a trough or even just a grow bag. Tomatoes are always a winner, especially cherry tomatoes as children love to pick these fresh from the plants.
- Help the children to plant a sunflower seed into a small pot, then transplant it into a flowerbed or a larger pot. If you have several children or grandchildren, have a friendly competition to find out who can grow the tallest sunflower.
- When children have outgrown their wellies, suggest they plant some seeds or young plants in them for a colourful display!
- After cooking with eggs, save the shells and use them for the children to plant up with cress, or seeds that you can plant out later – the children will love cracking the shell to remove the seedlings. They can also use an egg box as a planter for seedlings.
- Put together a simple treasure hunt where the children are tasked with finding things in the garden, or a treasure map with clues to lead them to a prize.
- Get a set of child-sized gardening tools and a miniature wheelbarrow and ask for help in the garden – you may not actually get much help but the children will love being asked.
- Show the children how to make a daisy chain or how buttercups held under the chin show if someone likes butter (it may be an old wives tale but we remember loving seeing the yellow glow of the buttercup on a child’s chin!).
Our recent competition with Plymouth primary schools encouraged children to get out into the garden and create something using recycled things they found there. The entries showed just how creative children can be! You can see the winners here.
If you would like further ideas for activities to do in the garden with children, the Duchess of Cambridge has collaborated with the RHS to produce a series of activity guides with suggestions on how to create fairy gardens, leaf wands, bug hotels and painted pebbles. Click here to learn more about the guides.