Category Archives: Outdoor activities

Top 5 seeds to sow with kids.

Not all seeds are created equal! Some are nice and easy to grow and others are a little more particular about conditions before they even attempt to poke their head above compost. If you are gardening with kids you want successes. That way they will stay interested and are more likely to want to do more gardening in the future.  I’ve put together a list of a few of my top seeds to grow with kids that are easy and rewarding.

Potatoes

What child doesn’t like digging for buried treasure? Potatoes are so simple and again they can be grown in pots or bags if you are short on space. You can buy seed potatoes (these are basically a potato) from any good garden centre in spring. Pop them in a bright, cool place where they will then start to grow short, stubby sprouts (this process is known as chitting). Once they have these sprouts they can then be planted in the ground or with certain varieties planted into bags. We often use old compost bags here – fill about a third with compost, place 3 seed potatoes per bag, cover with more compost and keep topping up with more compost to bury the emerging leaves. Don’t forget to water it. When they’re ready to harvest just cut open the bag and leave the kids to rummage around until they found all the treasure.
Can be grown in pots.

Sunflowers

There’s a sunflower for everyone. Whether you want a small one with lots of flowers or tall one with a single huge flower and then everything inbetween. Often the smaller varieties are fine in pots if you don’t have a garden to grow them in. They will need support  in the form of a cane or stake especially the taller variaties as some of these can grow 2-3m!
Can be grown in pots.

Carrots

One of the great things about growing your own food is you can grow things you wouldn’t find in the supermarket. I know, I know you can buy carrots from the supermarket but you can’t normally buy purple, yellow and red carrots! They are easy to grow in a large deep container or in the ground. Normally in pots the seedlings are a little safer from slugs. A handy hint is to keep the pot up high (60cm plus), carrot fly is a pesky fly whos larvae tunnels into the carrots causing them to rot. The handy thing is that they fly at ground level so if you can keep them up high the carrots should remain unscathed.
Can be grown in pots.

Peas

A great value vegetable to grow. You can grow them for pea shoots (the top growing tip of the plant) and eat it like you would salad, mangetout or fully grown peas out of the pod. You can grow shorter varieties which would again be fine in a large pot, just make sure you provide some support for the peas to climb up. These have always been really popular with the children I have taught over the years. They love picking the pod and getting to split it open to reveal a lovely row of green peas that they can then eat straight away. It doesn’t get fresher than that!
Can be grown in pots.

Cress

With age many of us develop patience. This is perhaps not in abundance with a 3 year old! Cress is perfect for even the most impatient of us. Once sown you will see it starting to grow in 24hrs and it will be ready to eat in about 7-14days. The other great thing with cress is it can been grown all year round on a windowsill in your home on nothing more than a bit of damp cottonwool.
Grow in anything on a little bit of damp cottonwool.

This really is the tip of the iceberg as far as seeds go. There are so many fruits, vegetables and flowers that can be grown from seed once you start you’ll be hooked! Good luck and comment below with any of your own seed suggestions.

5 ways to get the kids outdoors this winter.

I’m not a lover of the winter, infact the idea of hibernating from November through to March is entirely acceptable in my book. Having said that ironically I’m outdoors most days and that means I feel the seasons more accutely than most and I certainly feel the cold! 

The temptation is to cocoon yourself indoors in the warm and this often means that the kids do the same. As a mum of two boys if we had a winter lock down like that… well lets just say, they would have perfected their WWF skills (that’s not World Wildlife Fund!) and I would probably have a gin close to hand! Kids need to let of steam and spending time outdoors is perfect way to do that. So I’ve put together my top 5 ways to get them out and about this winter.

Before I start … everyone has heard the saying “There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing” …need I say more. Get the gear – gloves, hats, layers, warm waterproof boots, fleece lined waterproofs. It will make yours and their lives so much happier.

  1. Go on a Treasure hunt! Don’t let the dark stop you. A treasure hunt is alway a hit, add in that they are doing it in the dark with torch/headtorches. AWESOME! Keep the hiding places fairly obvious as it can be tricky finding things with just a torch. You could also get the kids to paint stones with glow in the dark paint and then hide those around the garden.
  2. Light a fire. They can help you build it, finding sticks and dry leaves to start it off with. Then once its going it’s time to start toasting the crumpets and marshmallows. Having the fire going will also encourage the kids to play outside and then come over to the fire for a warm up before going off to play again.
  3. Plant up a container to give some winter colour. These are perfect for putting outside your front door so you have a cheery welcome home and the kids can check if it needs water. You could include plants like heather, cyclamen and winter pansies all of which will provide great colour.
  4. Go on a nature hunt. Whether it’s in the back garden, local park or woods with a little bit of preparation they can be occupied for hours. Check out this idea from Naturewalkz
  5. Make a bird feeder or mini bug hotel. Don’t forget the wildlife, we’re not the only ones that feel the cold. Lots of creatures in the garden will be needing shelter and extra food is always welcome. Try making bird feeders or mini bug hotels and pop them around the garden. This could also tie in with the kids going on a bug hunt to see what sort of creatures live in their garden. I’ll be putting up posts about making bird feeders and mini bug hotels shortly so keep an eye out.

Most importantly have fun, oh and don’t forget to take a flask of hot chocolate with you on your adventures!