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How do you inspire kids with a love of nature in the garden?

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  • Missy KrissyMissy Krissy Posts: 249

    By doing exactly what you are... Nothing replaces actually being outside in nature... not books, not tv documentaries etc. etc.  I have a nearly 8 yr old (so not that much older than your eldest!) and she has always been outside with me helping me dig, grow, ferry watering cans, picking flowers, fixing things that have broken - the whole shabam! 

    She has her own wild garden space and has built a bug hotel using whatever she can find lying around that would be suitable! She spends hours watching the insects creeping around and the bees pollinate - it's such a joy! 

    I dont know if you do this already (I'm going to have a mooch at your blog just now image) but the one thing that we love to do together is grab our note books (we have special ones for this!), some pencils, watercolour paints and brushes, find a quiet spot and sketch!  Super simple but its great fun. 

    I'm sure you know this already but just in case you don't The Woodland Trust website have a section called Nature Dectectives It has lots of fun activities to print out image

    Just another thought if you have space and some old pots, pans, cups etc. is getting them to really get their hands dirty and make a mud kitchen - my daughter looooooooves this!  Nothing quite like a brew of pure mud!!! image

    Last edited: 10 July 2016 07:58:28

  • PosyPosy Isle of Wight.Posts: 2,935

    We used to go on mini-beast hunts to look at creepy crawlies, pond dipping, - everything returned alive and well, - and all things involving mud. My granddaughter liked to take a basket and collect flowers to make into patterns and I always allowed her to have at least two or three of ANY flower she wanted, even when it almost broke my heart. I tried to teach them care but I let them wander anywhere they wanted and to make dens and hide and chase. We have a tiny stream so building dams was a must. She is a world weary twelve year old now but she still loves my garden and that will stay with her I think. Not sure about the boy......

  • dogwooddaysdogwooddays Posts: 258

    BLT - I agree, eating is one of the pleasures of having a productive garden and when kids eat what they have sown and grown, they get hooked I think. I'm planning a post in the series on sowing and growing to cover this in our garden.

    Z44 - what a lovely idea - my kids enjoy going to the allotment so it's great that other kids will be having that experience even though they don't have allotments of their own. I love growing different coloured fruit and veg with my kids and have written a post on it

     https://dogwooddays.net/2016/04/02/we-can-sow-a-rainbow/

    My daughter has just mastered rolling down hills and we spent a happy hour with friends the other day getting covered in grass! 

    Sounds like your 8 year old is really enjoying being outside with you Miss Krissy. I love the idea of special notebooks for sketching, I'm going to do this with my two - thanks. We are members of the Woodland Trust Nature Detectives. I agree, the resources on the website and that they send out are excellent. That's where we got the mini beasts swatch book and there's a link through to their website and some of the Nature Detectives resources on my post.

    Both my kids love being in the garden and investigating flowers for the insects they attract. Like you Posy, I encourage them to get involved outside and to use their imaginations even though our garden is fairly small. That's why I built our willow den - to give them a 'wild' area in the garden.

    https://dogwooddays.net/2016/06/03/how-to-engage-kids-in-a-small-family-garden-part-1-building-a-willow-den

    We also pick flowers and either use them in the house or eat the petals in salad with the calendula, borage, violas and nasturtiums. I think my son is the most interested in the flowers because he loves examining how the petals are arranged on the flowers and he loves tasting them too! My daughter mostly enjoys whatever he's doing (she's that age!) :-) 

  • AuntyRachAuntyRach Posts: 4,381

    Fantastic ideas y'all! 

    There is so much to see and do in gardens - it's a treasure trove; a whole world of discovery, learning and fun. The time spent together is precious too. 

    Even my little two year old niece likes picking flowers, watering and finding 'mini beasts'! 

    My garden and I live in South Wales. 
  • dogwooddaysdogwooddays Posts: 258

    Can't start them too young! The experience of being outside is so important for kids and so many don't get much time outside these days. :(

  • Missy KrissyMissy Krissy Posts: 249

    Totally agree with you both Dogwooddays and AuntyRach! I wish, wish, wish with my whole heart that more children spent their afternoons playing in the great outdoors! We are lucky as a family to be able to dedicate time out doors every day - its the best classroom there is! (In my opinion.... image).  

    Your blog is lovely btw Dogwooddays! One of our favourite things to do (which is on our summer holiday list!) is to press flowers and make an outside hanging mobile using a homemade "clay" - I have a link somewhere if you'd like it?!

    Last edited: 12 July 2016 07:17:07

  • dogwooddaysdogwooddays Posts: 258

    Ooo yes please. We press flowers, but then I'm never sure what to do with them. 

    Thanks re the blog. Always lovely to know readers are enjoying it - I love writing it! :-) 

  • dogwooddaysdogwooddays Posts: 258
    Thank you - I'll definitely be doing this with the kids over the summer and I've shared it on my Facebook page for others to enjoy too, at
    https://m.facebook.com/mydogwooddays/
    Happy gardening :-) 
  • Mark56Mark56 Windsor, BerkshirePosts: 1,653

    With my nieces and nephews we create bug hotels & hedgehog houses/feeding stations, even to the point of recording their garden with my Infared sensor camera over night and the excitement is fantastic. They've discovered local cats, foxes, mice & hedgehogs so far. 

    Last edited: 12 July 2016 19:50:19

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