Kids have a natural affinity with the great outdoors, and they like nothing better than getting their hands dirty in the garden.
Here to help you nurture your children’s love all things green, we bring you 15 inspiring blogs about nature and gardening with children.
Not everybody is lucky enough to live in Cornwall, but even for city-bound families, Crafts on Sea, offers a treasure trove of activities and adventures to inspire and instruct. Kate’s tutorial on how to make a DIY Captain America shield from a paper plate, for example, is a hit with readers who have little superheroes to keep busy.
Kate is the first to admit that there are times when the kids drive her crazy. Ring a bell? Check out her post for 4 ways to stay calm with kids. You may not be a “super chilled out zen parent”, but at least with Kate in your corner, you know you’re not alone!
Seasonally-themed and satisfying to make, they also post recipes and tips on how to help your kids cook what they grow. Found yourself with a tomato glut? Take a look at blogger Gill’s post on making homemade pizzas. Hmmm, delicious.
And don’t forget the joys of making mud pies, mud paintings, castles and construction sites, Gill says, after all, “mud makes you happy”!
If your children avoid the outdoors, why not let green-fingered George inspire them? Passionate about gardening, 14-year-old blogger, George is the first ever RHS Young Ambassador.
As well as being an award-winning gardener, George has been a guest on Blue Peter and has even met the Queen. This budding garner really knows his stuff; his surefire tips about growing your own herbs are absolutely ‘mint’, and are sure to convert even the most garden-averse of children.
How about getting your kids involved in attracting wildlife to your garden? Last year, hedgehogs were George’s focus, but this year he’s all about bats. His overall top tip? “If you want wildlife in your garden, learn to love insects!”
What child can resist growing their name on a courgette? Blogger Catherine Hughes’ children certainly can’t. And judging by the popularity of her post, other kids love her “dead easy” how-to as well.
Catherine’s top tip for encouraging little gardeners – give them their own patch and let them grow and nurture their own plants. Check out her top five seeds, which include pumpkin and sunflower, which she says are are perfect for “little, impatient hands”. Hint: to make a success of the sowing session get some child-size tools.
A mum of two, Catherine knows that “life with a young family is hectic and it’s never easy to carve out time for hobbies”. Sound familiar? Her 10-minute gardener series is designed to help you keep on top of those jobs that mount up without you noticing!
The garden is “the first place where your children connect and interact with the natural environment,” says blogger Lynda. Her blog is all about sharing ideas to help you create happy outdoor memories with your kids.
For those with small hands, containers are easy to dig, plant and water, and Lynda has some great suggestions for crops to grow in pots. Alternatively, kids will love planting vegetables like carrots and tomatoes that you can harvest and eat together. Lynda says “the best thing you may ever grow is a gardener!”
If your children don’t have green fingers, never fear! Lynda has some great suggestions for getting them outside, like building a willow wigwam to use as a den.
Get your kids to dig, says blogger Karen Bell. Her children “thought it was wonderful every time they found a worm. The squeals of delight could be heard for miles around.”
Mum of three, Karen knows how quickly childhood flashes by, which is why she wants her kids to have as much fun running around, playing, and getting as messy as possible. And the best place for that? The garden.
The key to gardening with children is to do it in short bursts, Karen says. Taking children’s limited attention spans into account stops them getting bored and nurtures their natural enthusiasm for growing things.
Even when the weather’s cold, Karen knows that there’s plenty of excitement to be had outside. Her matchbox nature hunt is a guaranteed kid-pleaser. All you need is an empty matchbox for each child to fill with “nature’s treasures”.
Chelsea Flower Show medal-winner Dawn Isaac knows a thing or two about gardening and, with three children at home, it was only a matter of time until her two loves happily collided. The result, this excellent gardening blog.
And for those whose families are already dab hands with a trowel, why not try growing potatoes? Even if you’re short on space, you can grow spuds in a bucket, making it a stellar starter veg, “in fact it has the flavour of a classic magic trick,” Dawn says.
The Meek family know the importance of getting fresh air. Parents Tim and Kerry Meek quit their jobs in 2014 and took to the open road with their daughters Amy and Ella, dubbing the year ahead their around-Britain “ed-venture”.
Following their travels both in the UK and overseas, the Meeks have taken what they learned to create their own ‘hybrid lifestyle’. In simple terms? Embracing community and stability at home in Nottingham and making time for regular family adventures.
Part of their lifestyle involves interacting with nature as much as possible. Want to learn a bit more about ghost moths or cuckoo spit? Check out “Beauty of the Beasts”, 11-year-old Ella’s series of short films on the creatures she calls “mini-beasts”.
Embrace the Meek spirit and start planning your next family adventure. They’ve come up with a list of 100 suggestions to get you started.
London mums, Alice and Luci, are constantly looking for ways to juggle motherhood’s constant challenges. Happily, they share their tips on their blog, too. They love to get outside, and they’ve got some great ways of keeping their kids happy in the great outdoors.
Wondering which fruit and veg are best to grow with your children? Berries and aromatic herbs are winners, but if you want something for the ‘instant gratification’ crowd, lettuce and radishes are speedy growers. There’s loads more on their post, ‘25 fruit and veg to grow with kids’.
Ever wondered what the best way to win at conkers is? After a deprived childhood when her sister wouldn't play conkers with her, Alice had to give herself a crash course in the sport. Check out her post if you need a refresher!
Alice became the “New Young Mum” to her daughter Amelia when she was 19. Two years later and Alice has a bouncing toddler who just loves the garden.
Mum and daughter play hide and seek and have tea parties in Amelia’s wigwam, two of her current Top 10 Things to do in the Garden. Alice says she “can’t wait for [Amelia] to get more involved with helping in the garden as she gets bigger.” Until then, Amelia is planting her very own playdough garden.
The garden is a great source of inspiration for learning and play, and Alice’s outdoor activity ideas are inspiring and fun. Do visit her post on conker paint rolling and, our favourite, the perfume shop – all you need is freshly-picked flowers, fruit and a jug of water.
If you have any conkers left after New Young Mum’s paint rolling activity, take a leaf out of nursery teacher Kierna Corr’s book as she helps the children in her class incorporate conkers into their play – the mud kitchen looks particularly fun.
As the name of her blog suggests, Kierna is a firm believer in the Ruskin quote that “there is no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather." Her blog is full of ideas to help you make the most out of play in all weathers.
Never one to suggest sitting indoors, she warms milk over outdoor fires for hot chocolate, and when the weather turns chilly goes on bracing winter walks.
Kerry used to hate gardening, but when she became a parent she wanted her daughter Amelia to feel differently. Her take on 5 ways to get children interested in the garden is sure to inspire, although you may have to hose the kids down before you let them back inside.
Now, of course, Kerry is totally in love with the great outdoors and says she “can't wait to get out in the garden with Amelia not only to play outside but to involve her in activities and nature.”
For those who are still on the garden fence about embracing the outdoors, Kerry’s post on transforming your garden shed into a children’s playroom is the ideal halfway step. Bright colours, she says, are key to making it a welcoming, happy space – think paint, rugs and bunting.
Who says gardens are just about plants and seeds? Blogger and mother of four, Anna certainly doesn’t think so.
For her kids, she’s created a special play garden complete with mini-beast habitat, a dinosaur garden, fairy garden, and an outdoor concoctions kitchen, and thanks to her compelling style and easy-to-follow instructions, you can too.
Whichever exciting garden you choose to create, Anna says it’s important to “feature lots of natural materials…” And then get ready for your kids to indulge in “some good, old-fashioned, messy FUN.”
Turn drinks cartons into bird feeders and plant pots, and mould modelling clay into sprites for your trees with Thinly Spread blogger Chris who writes about family, gardening and home from her centuries-old “higgledy-piggledy” house.
From deepest darkest Somerset, Chris provides oodles of fun ideas for enjoying quality time in the garden with your kids. Crafts are a particular highlight of her blog. She says “I love crafts which everyone can join in with whatever their age or skill level.”
Got a little one who believes there are fairies at the bottom of the garden? You’ll love Chris’ creative idea for transforming garden stones into magical fairy houses.
For Dara, nature isn’t just a passion, it’s a lifeline. “I have Asperger’s and nature helps me feel connected to the world in a really meaningful way,” he says. “Wildlife and nature is my life.”
Whether he’s writing on battling the back-to-school blues with a little garden therapy or having encounters with an Elephant (Hawk Moth!), Dara’s enthusiasm for nature is contagious, especially where birds are concerned.
Fermanagh-based naturalist and blogger, Dara McAnulty has an inspirational voice, and he’s a passionate advocate of the beneficial powers of nature. His post on being in his garden on the winter solstice in the presence of a robin is magical.
Do you and your family love to get outdoors? Tell us of your adventures on our Facebook page. And if you know of any other amazing outdoor blogs, let us know!
Lead image: FamVeld/Shutterstock