National Children's Gardening Week starts 29th May. Celebrating the fun children can have in our green spaces. Gardening can help all of us connect with nature and can be a great way to learn about and observe the different seasons. Fun gardening activities for children enable them to learn a whole host of useful skills and scientific concepts in a practical & engaging way. From growth and photosynthesis to pollination and pests. It also has incredible benefits for mental health. 

With spring in full swing and better weather hopefully on the way. Now is the perfect time to celebrate the joy and learning that gardening can bring to the lives of families everywhere. Inspiring children to become the next generation of growers. Here are our top 3 garden activities to try this week:

1. Grow a Pizza Garden

Who doesn’t love pizza? A pizza garden can be a winning idea for little ones through to teens. It can be grown in a raised bed or a container adapted for growing. Tomatoes, basil, peppers, onions, oregano and parsley are all classic pizza ingredients. Feel free to mix it up and add aubergine, courgette, spinach and rocket if they’re your toppings of choice. The plants can all be grown together, or for some extra pizza-themed fun, plant them in a circular bed. Divide into ‘slices’ for each crop to grow in. Harvest the crops when they are ready, and add them to your summer home-made pizza or pasta sauces. Get creative by designing and making signs for each plant by painting stones or laminating paper. Try drying or freezing any leftover herbs to ensure no waste and a year's worth of tasty seasonings.

2. Have a Sunflower Race

Sunflowers are big, beautiful & bright, they also grow incredibly quickly. This makes it a fun activity for kids to watch them get taller and taller- seeing who’s plant gets the highest. Now is the perfect time to plant them, either in pots on the patio or directly in the ground. It’s a good idea to start them in pots until they reach about 10-15 cm, as slugs and snails love sunflowers too. If you do sow seeds directly outside then you can use a plastic bottle cut in half to protect the young seedlings as they emerge. Keep them well watered and provide some stakes for support as they grow. Sunflowers are great for wildlife, providing nectar for bees, and if you allow the seed heads to ripen and dry, they provide a real treat for birds later in the year. This fun garden activity for children lends itself well to home learning too. Make a chart and use tape measures or rulers to record the height of the sunflowers each day. Children could also record the weather and any other observations, making connections to sunlight, water & growth. Growing sunflowers in fun gardening activities for children

3. Create a Mini-Pond

Water brings a magical quality to the garden and can attract new birds, butterflies, frogs and insects. It offers a place for wildlife to bathe, drink and thrive and can be a useful area for observation and discussion. The best bit is that it can be really simple & cheap to create. Try using something you may have lying around like an old washing-up bowl or ice cream tub. Now is a lovely time to create a mini-pond because you'll see it quickly develop over the next few months, but you can make it at any time of year. For something more decorative place a wildlife table out and see what animals you attract. Children will find it exciting to watch pond skaters, water lice & freshwater shrimp. If you’re lucky, you may even see a few damselflies darting around the water. Try recording the insects & wildlife you find using a tally or bar chart. Research the different species or turn it into an art session and sketch them for added home learning. Engaging in learning opportunities like these, children are able to hone important life skills & gain a practical understanding of the world around them. Promoting positive mental health and wellbeing through relaxation and connection. Give these fun activities a go today and see what you can discover. *Free images from Pexels