Hopefully you enjoyed my last post on gardening with toddlers. Have you been out and about spotting flowers, trees, plants etc?
In this post, I’ll be giving you some tips and ideas for getting your hands dirty and doing some actual planting with your children indoors. Make sure you include your kids as much as possible in choosing plant pots and the plants, helping dig holes and filling pots with compost. Get them to drop the seeds or bulbs in, and tucking any plants into their new beds with their fingers. They’ll feel a sense of ownership over the whole thing, and love watching their plants grow, looking after them by watering them once a week.
Whether you have space for an indoor plant pot or not, there are still ways to get all green-fingered in your home. If you have a wall, a hook, even a draw or cupboard handle, you can get some beautiful, small, hanging planters. I love this one from Lisa Angel, it’s simple, stylish and only £7 with free shipping. I got some little succulents called String of Pearls, and have hung mine in the lounge to add some greenery. Plus, Archie Bear loves watching it grow longer and longer, and helping me water it. Just be sure to keep an eye on little ones around these, as the little green beads can be poisonous if eaten! We used to live in a flat on the 4th floor of a council block, and it didn’t even have windowsills. I wish I’d known about hanging plant pots back then!
One of my especially green-fingered friends has a beautiful array of hanging planters in her kitchen window, which I have been admiring since I first saw them around 18 months ago. She used some normal plant pots which are much easier to get hold of, and made her own hangings out of some strong, coloured string.
It’s called macramé, and you can find some great tutorials here. Just make sure you use plant pots without holes in the bottom!
Sass & Belle do some other hanging plant pots which you can use as vases too, should you get your hands on some flowers. These ones are shaped like mason jars and can either sit on a shelf or hang on a well placed nail, and the pastel coloured ones are currently on sale.
Make sure you put plenty of water in, and cut the stems at a 45 degree angle.
The fastest (and tastiest) growing project is of course, cress seeds. At a couple of £s a packet, if that, they are extremely cheap and SO easy to grow that they don’t even need compost, or a plant pot. You can use empty egg shells or cleaned out yoghurt pots, filled with cotton balls or balled up kitchen roll. Just sprinkle the seeds on the top, water, and wait! By the next morning you’ll see each seed has split and a tiny shoot emerging. And once they’ve grown to a couple of cms high you can give your cress a haircut and serve it up to your little one. You can even decorate the egg shell or yoghurt pot. There are plenty of ideas online, I love these minion eggs!
To finish this post, I’ll end with a few tips for indoor gardening with little ones;
- Expect spills – have the kitchen roll/a towel handy at all times. If you have kids you’ll know how clumsy they can be, and with plant pots, water and compost around, odds are you’ll need to mop up the odd spill here and there. Remember their hands are little and they don’t have as much patience or dexterity as you so accidents are part of life – try not to get frustrated (talking to myself here too).
- Prepare for mess – if you’re planting, make sure you put lots of newspaper down first, over a waterproof mat if possible. This makes cleaning up afterwards super quick and easy, and will mean you don’t have to worry about little dirty hands spilling soil all over your table or carpet.
- Keep things safe – best to put the plant pots out of reach of little hands if you’re not always keeping your beady eye on your little ones, or if there are even littler ones around.
- Communicate your plans and expectations – make sure you explain to your toddler what you are going to do before you get started. Set a few rules too. Decide which bits you want to do yourself and which bits you want your kids to help with, whether you are happy with them getting dirty with compost and handling the plants/seeds, or if you want to do it yourself. There is no right or wrong here, just make sure you communicate your expectations with your child first, otherwise it will be stressful for everyone.
- Encourage responsibility – encourage your kids to take responsibility for their plants, to water them and check on them every so often, with your guidance of course.
Enjoy getting green-fingered (more like dirty-fingered) with your toddlers this weekend, and look out for the next post on gardening with toddlers outdoors next week.