It’s that time of year! As a leading manufacturer of garden rooms, one of our favourite weeks is coming up, and that’s National Children’s Gardening Week.
Ok, so we’ve not quite had the weather we’d like to populate the hanging baskets with petunias and geraniums. However, the weather forecast for National Children’s Gardening Week (29 May – 6 June) looks a little more promising.
So, what can we all do to inspire children to connect with nature this year? We check out some of the top tips from the Horticultural Trades Association, share some of our advice and where to access free resources.
What is National Children’s Gardening Week?
National Children’s Gardening Week is a week-long campaign. Essentially, and this is the heart-warming part, it’s an annual festival of fun that involves families, schools, and community groups supporting the work of the charity, Greenfingers.
Remarkably, Greenfingers creates magical gardens for children in hospices living with life-limiting illnesses. Every year, the charity creates a wonderful array of activities designed to make gardening exciting for all children.
Children love seeing the seeds they sow coming to life, but they can be a little impatient when it comes to wanting instant results. National Children’s Gardening Week seeks to capture the immediate attention of children so that they don’t have to wait for plants to grow for that burst of pride.
From making a grass caterpillar, growing cress on kitchen towel and creating a multi-storey bug hotel, there’s lots to keep children engaged.
How can Children Benefit From Spending Time in the Garden?
We all know about the benefits of being outside surrounded by nature, but sometimes life just gets in the way of making time for nurturing activities. Gardening, however, has a real purpose. It enhances children’s lives on several levels and makes family-life that much more harmonious, and here’s why.
Let’s start with the most obvious. Gardening is a superb way to turn children’s attention away from their screens. By getting out in the fresh air, you limit the amount of time they spend on their digital devices.
When they’ve finished their stint of gardening, they may take to What’s App or Facebook (if they have an account) to share their work and encourage their friends to do the same!
Children who care for plants and creatures tend to know a lot more about nature and science. They learn what type of flowers attract bees and butterflies, why it’s important to plant at different times of the year, and how to create suitable habitats. They also learn some important life-skills too, such as decision-making, patience and planning.
Gardening can also inspire creativity too. If you’re fortunate enough to have a garden room, you could use the space to create a landscape design together. After all, some of the best designs come from young minds.
Boost mental health
Being outside automatically boosts our overall well-being. It’s one of the many reasons why some clients choose to work from a garden office rather than in their home.
Now, more than ever, children need to have the time and space to destress. Being outdoors and pottering around in the garden can lower stress hormones, reduce anxiety levels and even enhance the immune system. In fact, researchers at Yale University in the US have even gone as far as to give this well-known benefit a name; Ecopsychology.
Gardening may not feel like working out in your garden gym, but studies suggest that some gardening tasks are the equivalent of a high-intensity class. After all, in Spring, you and your children could spend quite a few hours digging, raking, mulching, weeding and planting!
Helps with diet
You may introduce a vegetable patch or ask your children to choose a couple of new fruits they would like to plant. This is a great activity for picky eaters as knowing where their food comes from plays a big role in food psychology. Firm favourites are carrots, peas, strawberries and herbs such as rosemary and mint.
What can you do Outside with Your Children?
As parents ourselves, we love the activities recommended on the National Children’s Gardening Week ‘Things to Do’ page. Here are a few of our favourites:
- Create a hedgehog feeding station. The British hedgehog population is in huge decline. Creating a small hole in the bottom of your fence for them to enter your garden and building a home from an upturned plastic box will make all the difference. Plus, it’s a great way to recycle your plastic boxes.
- Make rock animals. This is a great one to do in a garden room (or at the kitchen table). Simply paint rocks with acrylic paint, let them dry and adorn them with eyes, stripes or spots to make them into the bug of your choice. Just don’t forget to apply a gloss varnish on top.
- Paint garden markers. It’s easy to forget where you’ve planted things. Much like the animal rocks, you can paint a stone the colour of the veg or herb you’ve planted and lay it next to where it’s likely to sprout.
- Sensory path. This is a firm favourite with us. You could plant a sensory path leading to your garden room or patio area. Each section of the path is made from a different material, whether that’s grass, logs, smooth stones, asphalt or bark. Do remember to make sure it’s even though – you wouldn’t want little ones to trip!
Order Your Brochure Now
Hopefully, this blog has given you lots of ideas to make your garden an inspiring place for children.
If you’re looking to take things a little further and want to introduce outdoor living into family life, SMART has a fantastic range of family-friendly garden rooms.
With eight unique ranges starting at £9,115 and available in 60+ sizes and 13 different colours, you can really make the space your own.
We welcome entire families (dogs included) at our showroom in Bury St Edmunds with families regularly travelling from London, Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk to view our garden rooms.
We feel it’s important for you to see the quality of our craftsmanship and discover how a garden room could work for your family! We even had a lovely 11-year-old boy, Dylan, taking pictures of the bunnies in the field next to us while his family decided on a garden room this weekend just gone!
If you’re not sure where to start exploring our garden rooms, you may wish to download a copy of our brochure. It’s packed full of photography and useful information to help you consider your design options!