If you’re an avid gardener, you may take pride pulling up weeds, planting seeds or choosing the right stylish bird feeder for your feathered friends. Being in the fresh air can be wonderfully rewarding – so how about passing this feeling on to your little ones?
Children are never too young to learn about the world around them, including their local natural environment. So, here are a few tips to get you started.
- Enjoy a spot of bird watching
First and foremost, it’s important to show kids just how wonderful the great outdoors can be. One of the best ways to do this is to encourage our feathered friends to come into your garden and enjoy a spot of bird watching together. While adults can wait for hours for their favourite species to pay a visit, children are a little more impatient, so keep them interested by:
- Letting them prepare the treats – birds enjoy a wide array of snacks to nibble on including sunflower seeds, raisins and soft fruit, so ask your youngsters to help get the food ready and put it out on a feeding table or in a bird feeder.
- Filling the birdbath – explain to your children that birds need to wash, just like we do. Encourage them to provide fresh water on a regular basis, having installed a bird bath perhaps.
- Start a bird watching book – when a new species of bird is spotted, print a picture of it from the internet, stick it into a scrapbook and ask your little ones to decorate the page. You can even attempt to take photographs yourself and create a collage.
- Get pruning and digging
Children love to help, so embrace their natural enthusiasm by teaching them the basics of gardening including pruning, weeding, planting and digging. Of course, the activities you set them will depend on their ages, but even little ones as young as two can turn soil over using a plastic shovel or help water the plants.
As you go about your daily duties, tell your children all about the ecosystem and what we can do to protect local wildlife. Not sure where to start? Then here’s few pointers to help you out.
- Birds like to feed where they feel safe, so always pop feeders next to trees with high branches so they always have a quick place to hide from hungry cats!
- The ecosystem and natural environment is fragile, so we must try to avoid using pesticides and repellents.
- Leaving plants to grow – not cutting them back too much will provide shelter and protection for for birds.
- We can collect rain water for the garden in buckets to save using water from the tap.
In order to build on what your children learn outside you may also want to enjoy some fun, gardening-related arts and crafts together such as drawing garden animal pictures, painting rocks, using leaves to make unique prints or having a go at colourful sun catchers.
Getting children involved in gardening and outside-related activities such as gardening is a great way to help them understand and appreciate the world around them, so give these tips a go and see how you get on.