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How to: have garden fun with kids

‘Be back by dark’ tends not to be a phrase we associate with childhood these days, but given the chance, children still relish an opportunity to play outside. Kate Neale and her co-author, daughter Leelu, have plenty of ideas to help parents, grandparents and carers have summer fun in the garden with kids.



Make it quick 

Ignite interest with a quick win. Germinating seeds is a great way to see fast results. Sprinkle seeds on one half of a damp piece of paper towel, cover with the other, place in a ziplock bag and leave in a warm place out of direct sunlight. You’ll likely see results within a week. Sprouted seeds can then be transplanted into the garden. Melon, radish, zinnia and marigold are all reliably speedy.

Leelu says: let us choose the seed and make it a race.


Water works

Water play is a chance to look after the garden while cooling off. Ask the kids to fill different-sized vessels from the tap to water the garden. There will no doubt be splashing and fun as they attempt to them carry the differently weighted containers. Watering plants individually is often more water-wise than using a hose and gives kids lots of time in the garden getting the task done. When outside always be sun safe and have a towel or change of clothes on hand for afterwards.

Leelu says: If you’re out in the garden prepare to get wet. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!



DIY garden

Let kids create their own patch in your garden, or in a pot. Set a budget and head to the local nursery for supplies, or encourage repurposing from your garden. Let children adorn an inexpensive pot with personalised decorations, choose a plant or plants to feature, and add features like pebbles or toys to turn a simple pot or patch into a fairy garden or dinosaur park.

Leelu says:once the budget is set, trust us to make our own choices.


Imagine this 

Gardens make the perfect places to look for fairies, set up shops, cafes or dinosaur enclosures or create off-road landscapes for trucks or camping grounds for dolls. They are also great places to lie on the grass and stare at the clouds.

Leelu says: Some children imagine with their eyes open and use nature to create make believe. Others just want to close their eyes and imagine they’re in their own universe. Let us decide.