We like a bit of gardening here on ParentDish, but sometimes you have to think more creatively to engage your children's interests.
TV gardener Charlie Dimmock has been working with Disney and Busy Bees Nurseries to get children creating Winnie The Pooh gardens across the UK. She says:"I'm a firm believer in the positive effects of children spending more time outdoors and this is a great way of getting their imaginations working and having some green-fingered fun with one of world's best-loved bears!"
The good news is: you don't need a Hundred Acre Wood or Pooh Sticks Bridge to make it work for you.
Here are Charlie's tips:
- Children love actually gardening but they will get dirty- that's the fun bit! So make sure they're in practical clothes and foot wear
- Full size spades and forks are impractical as they are heavy and unwieldy for young children. Hand trowels and forks are OK but old dessertspoons and table forks can work really well
- Think of interesting themes such as Winnie the Pooh's beach garden, friendship garden, secret garden and many more when designing your gardens
- Simple gardens work best - why not plant your flowers in different shapes like circles, squares or triangles? Planting your seeds in groups, blocks or clumps will have a stronger effect rather than dotting plants about
- Keep on top of the weeding especially when the plants are small, weeds can swamp the plantlets making them weak and straggly or even killing them. Weeds also compete for the water and nutrients, which the plants need to be strong and free flowering.
- If you're going to use containers go for large ones as they are easier to maintain and it maybe worth incorporating moisture retention crystals as they will make watering easier and more effective
- Maintenance is important: regular (ideally daily) watering, weeding and checking of the plants will give the best results. How about giving your children a different maintenance role each day?
- Once the garden is up and running there won't be too much to do apart from some watering and weeding. But other activities could include making large colourful labels for the plants, wind chimes, painted pots, insect homes, bird feeders or decorated pebbles.
- The plants will attract lots of wildlife including some of Pooh's favourites like honey bees and butterflies. You could keep a chart or diary of what the children see each week which they will love!
- Finally do get your children to actually use and relax in the garden so they appreciate the space and all their hard work. The garden is a lovely place for story time or even a Winnie The Pooh picnic!