June 18, 2015

At Watagan Park we encourage all ages to get outside and enjoy the outdoors. Gardening is a great way to develop new skills and have loads of fun especially with children. They learn about caring for their own plants, the science of plants, backyard insects, the environment and healthy eating habits. We share some great ideas from Bunnings and Better Health Channel so the whole family can give gardening a go.

What you’ll learn
People of all ages can enjoy gardening, it is educational and allows you to develop new skills including:

  • Responsibility – from caring for plants
  • Understanding –learn about cause and effect
  • Self-confidence – achieving your goals and enjoying the food you have grown
  • Love of nature – a chance to learn about the outdoor environment in a safe and pleasant place
  • Reasoning and discovery – learning about the science of plants, animals, weather, the environment, nutrition and simple construction
  • Physical activity – doing something fun and productive
  • Nutrition – learning about where fresh food comes from

Getting interested and involved
Most children of all ages enjoy gardening, but what they get out of it changes as they grow older. Some suggestions to get children involved and interested in creating a garden include:

  • 0-3: Just getting out there and enjoying the sights, sounds, smells and colours.
  • 3-4: This is the perfect age for them to help with picking fruit and vegetables, mulching, weeding, catching insects and making mud pies.
  • 5-7: You can give them their own little patch of garden where they’re in charge of looking after the plants.
  • 8+: You can now start to involve them in planning the garden, preparing the soil, choosing plants, planting them, caring for and harvesting them.

Remember, keep it fun and keep it simple. As soon as it feels like hard work the kids will lose interest.

Making a space for children
Children love a space they can call their own, so set aside an area just for them. In small spaces, a few pots and containers will be enough. If you have more room, create a raised garden bed, no higher than 40cm. This stops the kids walking on the plants yet still makes everything easy to reach. Remember, raised beds should only be built with hard woods, never use treated pine as it contains arsenic.

Preparing the garden
Pick your spot and then get the kids to help you weed it before adding some organic matter like compost. This will help the drainage and aeration, which in turn will help better plant growth.

Caring for the plants
First, be sure to have tools and gloves that are the right size for kids. Then a small watering can or bucket with a pouring spout so you don’t waste water.

Live outside the box at Watagan Park

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