Any outdoor space provides plenty of activities that you can do with your child. Family gardening projects are a great way to help children engage with nature, learn about the natural world, and have fun at the same time.
Simple and fun family gardening projects
If you’d like to become a more green-fingered family, these four family gardening projects are a great place to start. Each one is simple, doesn’t need much in the way of materials, and is perfect for getting the whole family involved in a fun gardening session.
Growing cress heads
Whether you have a big garden or a limited outdoor space, you and your child can make your own cress heads. All you need is a sunny spot to place them, and you can enjoy watching them grow together. You can even grow them indoors on a windowsill.
To grow cress heads you will need:
- Yoghurt pots
- Cotton wool
- Kitchen roll
- Cress seeds
- Paint and paint brushes or colouring pens
Start by taking the label off the yoghurt pot to create a blank canvas for your child to decorate how they wish. Then place some damp kitchen roll at the bottom of the pot, and add some damp cotton wool on top. Scatter your cress seeds on top of the cotton wool, and pat them down gently – little hands are perfect for this. Place your pot in a spot that gets plenty of sunlight, such as a windowsill, and you should see your cress head start to grow within a week.
An added bonus to this fun family gardening project is that once your cress has grown, you can eat it! As well as learning about the planting process, children can also explore nature through taste and learn where their food comes from.
If you want to make the flower growing process even more interesting for your kids, then why not plant some famously tall sunflowers, and see which family member can grow the biggest one?
For the best results, you will need:
- Sunflower seeds
- A warm location for planting
- Plant pots
- Plant labels
You can buy sunflower starter kits from your local garden centre, or see if your child’s nursery has a gardening project of their own, like the Kiddi Caru Sunflower Competition. Children can learn about the life cycle of plants, as well as being encouraged to measure their sunflower’s height. There’s also nothing like a healthy bit of competition to get the whole family motivated!
Make a bird feeder
Your garden is home to lots of wildlife, and making a bird feeder is a lovely way for children to learn more about wild birds, while also supporting your local species.
For this activity, you will need:
- A pine cone
- Lard or solid vegetable fat
- Bird seed
- Dried fruit
Firstly, tie some string around the top of your pine cone, so that you have a loop to hang it up in your garden. Fill the holes in the pine cone with dried fruit – this is where kids of all ages can get involved. The next step is a bit trickier, and will need some adult supervision. Cover the whole pine cone in lard or vegetable fat, making sure the string loop is still sticking out at the top. Finish by rolling the pine cone in bird seed, and it’s ready to hang.
Your child can choose whereabouts in the garden they would like to hang their bird feeder, adding their own aspect of responsibility to the project. They can also be encouraged to learn and engage by asking them plenty of questions. And the fun doesn’t stop there, as you can watch all the different types of birds who use the feeder – and perhaps even make a diary of your visitors.
Go on a minibeast hunt
As I’ve already mentioned, your garden isn’t just about the plants and flowers that grow there. Gardens also provide a habitat and food source for a wide range of wildlife, and this makes them perfect for a minibeast hunt.
Encourage your child to explore the garden, looking for any type of insects, snails or worms. They will enjoy pointing out the bugs that they find, as well as learning why these minibeasts are an important part of how the garden grows and stays healthy. If they are feeling particularly brave, they can even carefully hold the creatures that they find.
If you’d like to extend this activity, you could make a bug box. For this you will simply need:
- An open-fronted box (wooden or cardboard)
- Gathered natural materials
To make the perfect home for little creatures, you and your children can gather lots of garden materials to fill the box. Drilled logs and bee hotels are ideal for bees, while pine cones, twigs and grass can attract ladybirds and woodlice. Not only will your little ones enjoy making the box, they will also be encouraged to keep going outside and checking on the bugs in their handmade home.
Hopefully these four simple family gardening ideas have inspired you to get outdoors with the kids and have fun together. For more fun kids gardening ideas, check out my post on brilliant garden projects to do with children.
Is there a favourite family gardening project you’d add to this list?