Alice Whitehead is a third generation allotmenteer that likes to grow, eat and get muddy – then write about it! With two urban allotment plots, an award-winning school garden club and an enthusiastic eight year old son to help. Alice is back this Easter weekend with her top six Easter activities for children in the garden, allotment, or even the kitchen!
Gardening for Children
Easter Activities for Little Growers
Easter egg hunts aren’t the only way to get the kids into the great outdoors over the holidays. Swap chocolate-fingers for green-fingers with these easy kids’ gardening activities – that don’t require a big garden or allotment.
1. Sow a signature salad
Personalise their plot by getting children to sow cut-and-come-again salad leaves in the shape of their name. It’s really easy, can be done in a large pot or even a seed tray on the windowsill, and looks great even when the leaves are small. Mark out the letter shapes in the soil with the end of a trowel and water lightly. Scatter seed into the drills and cover with a little more soil, and keep moist. Speedy salads can be ready for snipping in as little as two weeks.
2. Create a sunflower house
Brightly coloured, statuesque sunflowers are always a winner with children – and even more fun to hide in! Grow them into a den by marking out a square in the soil, leaving an opening for a ‘door’, and sowing sunflower seeds into the drill. As the plants grow they will create a little house with a roof of flowers, which you can bend over and tie together. Grow sunflowers of different varieties for real impact.
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3. Grow gourmet shoots
Ever seen pea shoots plated up at posh restaurants? They are super easy to grow. Get the kids to scatter pea seeds (or even a packet of dried peas from the health food shop) onto a seed tray, or into old guttering, filled with moist compost and cover with a little soil. In a few weeks, you can cut the tasty pea-flavoured shoots and eat them. Mine never make it as far as the salad bowl!
4. Make a cane topper
Garden canes are very useful for supporting tall plants but the ends can be pointy and sharp, and just at the wrong height for children’s eyes. Draw faces on old tennis balls with permanent markers, cutting a hole in the bottom, and slip the ball over the top of the cane. Or, create fun shapes out of modelling clay and dry in the oven, ensuring the hole in the bottom is wider than the cane as they tend to shrink as they dry. I made these little Elf Toppers with my son
5. Throw a seed bomb
Turn a game of rounders into a growing exercise, by mixing one part wildflower seed mix to three parts compost, and five parts clay, and add a little water to make it feel like cookie dough. Shape into a round ball with your hands and throw them into hard-to-reach areas of your garden (but ensure they land on soil!). In a few weeks you should have an explosion of colour.
6.Paint plant markers
In April it can be easy to lose track of what you’ve sown – and where! Get the kids to help you out with some homemade labels. You can really let their imaginations go wild, and save money on plastic plant labels. Arm yourself with sturdy scissors, outdoor paint, varnish, paintbrushes and marker pens, and customize wooden cutlery, plastic milk bottles (cut panels out), off cuts of wood, rocks, aluminum drinks cans (cut into strips and use biro to mark the names) or clothes pegs.
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*You can find more of Alice’s amazing blogs at her website, Wonderland Freelance.