Written by Caroline Johnston; founder of The Every Space, a curated gift & plant shop in Walthamstow, London.
Children and nature tend to have an immediate connection, and it’s one that’s so important to nurture. It’s crucial (particularly at the moment!) to keep your kids’ minds stimulated and engaged – and there’s no better way to do it than to get them excited about greenery.
Allowing your children to explore plants and flowers is an excellent way to combine learning, sunlight, fresh air and nature. Sometimes, though, you might not have access to a garden or outdoor space – but you can absolutely encourage indoor gardening in this scenario. It can be tricky to think of fresh and interesting ideas, so we’ve come up with plenty of options to help you and your kids get hands on with plants.
Get in touch with nature from the comfort of your home
If you don’t have a garden or outdoor space, don’t worry. There are plenty of imaginative ways you can nurture a connection with nature.
If you have a houseplant collection (or even just one or two) it’s time to repot them. Spring is the perfect opportunity to give your houseplants some extra TLC, so get your kids involved and give your plants a new home. If they seem like they’re outgrowing their current pot, find one slightly bigger to give it’s roots room to grow and expand. Give them some fresh soil and a little water – you can even make your own DIY houseplant fertiliser with old banana skins for extra nutrients.
Once your plants are looking happy in their new pots, why not give them a new view of the room? Some plants prefer to hang and grow downwards, and you can easily create your own DIY plant hangers with your kids.
This simple macrame plant hanger activity is a really fun way to create something beautiful for your home.
Not got an existing plant collection? Growing microgreens on a sunny windowsill is a wonderful way for kids to take full responsibility for a plant. They’re very simple to grow, and they’re a lovely way to introduce kids to the miracle of plant growth. Bonus – they’re edible, so you have the added reward of chucking them in a sandwich, salad or as a decorative garnish for dinner.
Simply line a tray with damp kitchen paper, scatter seeds on top and cover with a propagator lid, or cling film with holes in. Left in a bright and warm spot you will see shoots within a day or so.
Kids Gardening has some great info about growing Microgreens and lots of other kids gardening ideas.
Get your hands dirty in the garden
If you’re fortunate enough to have a garden – no matter how small or large – there are endless options when it comes to getting your kids excited about nature.
Teach them more about the ecosystem of minibeasts and bugs that inhabit your space. Creating a bug hotel is a fab way to spend an afternoon, and it involves using materials you can find naturally in your own surroundings. This can include anything from wooden palettes, plant pots, branches, leaves, bricks, woodchips, sand, pebbles and other natural scraps you find in your garden. You can go as glitz and glam as you wish, building a multi storey tower full of little hiding places. (Your hotel might also be used as a shelter by toads, hedgehogs and other little outdoor creatures!)
The RSPB have great ideas for Bug Hotels and other garden-nature activities.
Fancy something a little more whimsical? Building a beautiful fairy garden is a really fun activity for all the family. The base of a tree or a natural hollow in the ground is the perfect location for a fairy garden, as the cave-like opening will make it appear all the more enchanted. Your kids can collect any little stones, twigs and other garden bits and bobs to create tiny paths, fences, gates and more. A piece of wood, cardboard or recycled packaging (like an ice cream tub lid!) makes the perfect doorway to your fairy home.
Continue the fun when you’re out and about
If you’re able to go for a little bit of fresh air, take your kids to a nearby park or open space to continue the fun.
Spring is full of gorgeous new blooms and blossom falling from trees. Create a nature guide at home filled with different types of tree, plant and common English wildflowers, and decorate it with drawings and sketches. You can then become explorers for the afternoon – take your new guidebook out with you and try to spot as many of the plants as you can, and tick them off as you go.
Spotted lots of beautiful flowers? Collect a few and take them home with you (not too many, as you don’t want to spoil the pretty view for everyone else!). You can create unique art from pressed and dried flowers by gently placing the delicate petals between glass and hanging them from a window – the sunlight shines through the flowers and illuminates their stunning colours.
You can make one like this https://www.hometalk.com/36629842/pressed-flower-art-suncatcher
There are plenty of ways to get your kids excited about being around nature, whether that’s through growing their own seeds, eating fresh produce, creating natural art or even just having a picnic in the grass. Spring is definitely the most beautiful time to immerse yourself in greenery – so get out there and get started.