Thursday, May 9, 2013

Simple Gardening Ideas For Children - A Guest Post By Charlotte

A week back, I recieved a mail from Charlotte, a member of Surf Excel asking me if she could write a guest post on my blog. I was in a rush and thought of replying back later. As always, I forgot about it until today when she kindly sent a reminder. Of course! I am so excited to share her post with you all.

Coming to today's guest  - Surf Excel's initiative 'Dirt is Good' is all about unleashing the human potential by giving your kids the freedom to experience life, even if that means they'll get a bit messy! By working together with great parenting blogs, they want to encourage parents to share their own tips & tricks.

Over to Charlotte of Surf Excel..

My name is Charlotte and I’m a member of Surf Excel. One of our core values is to unleash human potential, and what better way to do that than by giving your kids the freedom to experience life? We understand the challenges of raising children, and admire parents like you who keep blogs with advice and inspiration for other parents.
We want to encourage moms and dads to share experiences and exchange information in a network of high-quality parenting blogs, and the first way we want to accomplish this is by offering you our own tips and ideas.

Simple Gardening Ideas For Children

The average urban family won’t come into much contact with greenery in their daily lives. If you live in an apartment, there isn’t often the room for a proper garden. Despite this, it is still possible to foster a love of nature in city children. Introducing younger kids to the basics of caring for plants is simple, even for families who live in the city – and kids will always find it fun to play around with soil and plants! As a recent article in The Times of India illustrated, the lessons that gardening can teach a child – even one with behavioural difficulties – can be applied to many other aspects of their life. We can all agree that there can never be enough fun activities that encourage child development, so here are some ideas for gardening with your children.

Making your own garden at home

The easiest place to start is by encouraging your child to grow small plants at home. All this requires is a window ledge, balcony, or space inside near a window. Equipment for this activity is cheap and easy to buy from a garden centre or plant nursery. Or, a lot of the gardening equipment can be made at home – for example, plastic yoghurt pots or plastic cups can be washed and turned into pots for small plants.

For children under five or who those who haven’t experienced growing plants before, the parent can start out by buying a young plant from a nursery – the children will be responsible for watering the plant and watching it grow. Another possibility would be to begin with seeds, and have your child plant the seeds, keep the soil moist, then wait for the plants to sprout.

Plants and equipment you need for gardening with your kids

Easy, readily available plants for children to cultivate include radishes, sunflowers, beans and Bengal gram. Most of these plants grow quickly and will sprout in less than a week – ideal for small children who are still learning to be patient.

Specialist clothing or equipment isn’t required – most modern detergent brands, like Surf Excel, can handle any stains associated with basic gardening. Laying down plastic sheets will be a useful way to prevent the floors or table surfaces from getting too messy.

Ownership of the plants should be encouraged, as this will increase your child’s interest in nurturing them. Buying them their own small trowel or pair of gardening gloves are easy ways to achieve this. Letting them choose the type of plants they want to grow first is another option.

Other fun gardening activities for kids

As your children get older and more interested in gardening, a fun activity might involve taking them to a local nursery, garden, or public park. Your children can try to identify all the different types of plants they see. They can learn the names of plants and flowers and discover more about the types of plants that commonly grow in your region. There might be courses or opportunities for children to get involved with gardening activities in their local community – perhaps run by in the public park or through a charity. These activities will give older kids a chance to try more complex gardening tasks in an outdoor setting.

Little gardening activities are easy to arrange for young children, even from the comfort of your apartment. Fun, not too messy, interesting, informative – there is really no excuse not to go green!

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