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The sun is out, and children love getting their hands mucky, so what better family activity to do with your children than gardening? It’s the perfect opportunity for them to explore and learn about nature, and learn about where the food they eat comes from.
In celebration of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show this week, ACE has put together some top tips for getting your kids out in the garden this spring. And no need to worry about pesky grass and dirt stains – with ACE for Colours and ACE for Whites in your cupboard, you can have the confidence to get mucky right along with the little ones, so you can forget the stains but keep the memories.
1. Opt for seeds that sprout relatively quickly.
Patience is a virtue, and unfortunately, not all children are blessed with it. Some seeds will break through the soil in a matter of a few days. Pumpkins and sunflowers germinate within 5-7 days, and cress will appear in as little as 2-3 days.
2. Grow vegetables and herbs that your little ones can help cook in the kitchen.
Let them choose their favourites, or pick a specific recipe that they can grow the ingredients for, such as tomatoes and basil for pizza sauce. This is a great way to give children a sense of accomplishment and to teach them about where their food comes from, and might even encourage fussy eaters to try more vegetables.
3. Create a wildlife themed garden for any animal lovers in the family.
There are a wide variety of plants named after animals: Lamb’s ear, snapdragons, hens and chicks, elephant ears. You could also plant varieties that will attract wildlife to your garden: brambles, or blackberry plants, attract butterflies, moths and bumblebees with its pollen and nectar. A wide variety of birds and small mammals will also eat the fruit.
4. Come up with some additional activities to keep children interested.
With limited attention spans, it’s good to have some ideas to keep little ones interested for longer. Bring a magnifying glass out to the garden and hunt for mini-beasts (worms, snails, ladybirds etc.) on the leaves or in the dirt. This is also a good opportunity to teach the importance of insects in the garden, and show your children how to hold them gently.