Wednesday 29 July 2015

Tips for getting children interested in DIY and gardening

Topps Tiles asked me to share some of my tips for getting children to help around the garden and home to help them learn some key life skills, and to start us off they sent us a lovely bundle of DIY goodies.

So here are my top tips:

In the garden....

* Start by growing something simple that will give quick results. We've made cress heads in the past and I loved the little grass head been kit that we were sent - the children love coming down each morning to see how he is getting on. You don't need a kit, you can easily make your own cress heads or you can simply grow cress on a paper towel. The seeds start to germinate within a day or two, and in a couple of weeks you'll have a lovely crop.

* If you are planting vegetables outdoors in the vegetable patch, choose something that your children will eat. We've had a lot of success with tomatoes and carrots, and strawberries are brilliant because they will give you a continuous crop over the space of a few weeks. You don't need to grow from seed, garden centres sell plants which you can re-pot or plant in your garden.

* Use the process of growing something as a learning opportunity for children. A classic example is the bean in a jam jar where children can watch as the seed germinates and sends out roots, and you can help children to keep a bean diary as it grows.

Growing plants on the windowsill

* Provide children with child sized accessories like gardening gloves, trowel and a trug or wheelbarrow. I have a post on my other blog suggesting some essential supplies for gardening with toddlers. Mia loves the gorgeous gardening gloves we were sent and they make her feel really grown up!

* Bird feeders are a brilliant way to encourage birds to your garden and for children to learn about the different types of bird that they can see. We built this awesome bird feeder that attaches to the outside of your window. I've put it at the front of our house because the back garden is frequented by cats, hopefully we'll get some feathered visitors!

Putting a bird feeder in the window

Around the house...

* Children can be a great help when you are assembling flat pack furniture. They can count out the fixtures and fittings and match them to the inventory to make sure that you're not missing anything, then they can hand them to you as you need them. They'll love playing with all those big cardboard boxes too!

* Give children their own set of little toy tools so that they can play along, the more realistic the better. You can make a toy workbench from a sturdy box like a shoe box and let children hammer pretend nails into it.

* If you are working on something that is too dangerous for children to help with, for example putting up a curtain rail or bookshelf, allow children to watch (supervised and from a safe distance!) so that they become familiar with the process and see how everything fits together.

* Children love helping out if you are painting. It's probably best to have them help with the undercoat rather than the final coat, but they will love being allowed to paint with real paint on the actual walls. Make sure that they are wearing old clothes and that all the surfaces are well covered!

Do you involve your children in DIY? What tips would you add?

I was sent a bundle of goodies from Topps Tiles in exchange for this post, with some lovely projects for us to get stuck into as a family.

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