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Luring the little ones away from their TV screens and into the glorious outdoors can often prove a little tricky. But it is possible with a little effort and imagination. From planting seeds to creating fairy gardens, here are some of the best things to do with young children in the garden, as recommended by gransnetters.
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1. Planting seeds and picking vegetables
"Last year, my grandson grew a trough of mixed salad leaves. He enjoyed selecting which colours he wanted to go in his sandwiches and would then eat them, though he's not fond of lettuce. This summer will more of the same, plus an outdoor cucumber plant, which will be something I've never tried growing before so old and young will be learning together."
"We plant sunflowers and runner beans with our grandson, and have the added plus of seeing how tall the flowers will reach. The fact that the beans grow quickly and he can eat them (he eats them raw as a snack!) is all it needs to get him into the garden to check on their progress."
"Our grandchildren have made a secret passage at the end of the garden and have great fun there building camps and exploring. We are sometimes invited to join them."
"I once made a fairy garden with my granddaughter and she loved tidying it and arranging all the fairy things. We made a table using acorns as legs and she was a bit worried that the squirrel might steal it."
"When I was a small child with no access to a garden, I used to love making miniature gardens, usually in old biscuit tins. Later, I did this with my own children - we made a garden of little alpines and ground cover plants in an old washing up bowl. This is great for children living in flats who don't get a chance to grow things otherwise."
"I love making 'tray gardens' with the little ones. Often mine add their own spiders, beetles, bugs and even the odd dinosaur! Wonderful for making up stories."
"My two grandchildren love being covered from head to toe in mud. Recently, they had a fantastic time sliding down a muddy bank on their tummies, though on that occasion suitably dressed in waterproofs, thanks to my daughter-in-law's forethought."
"Children love making wormeries. You can buy a cheap kit or make your own."
"I've bought my granddaughter a lovely bee watering can and created her own little space for her flowers. I also pretend they are smiling when they see her and make her listen out for their squeals of joy."
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"Our little grandson loves putting on Grandad's oversized (for his little hands) gardening gloves and Granny's gardening clogs (also way too big, of course) and 'helping' in the garden."
"The greenhouse, vegetable patch and flower beds are great for little helper time. We love watching the bees on my lavender border. My granddaughter is fascinated watching them visit the flowers."
"I had it for my daughters...a boule kit with a jack and we played such fun games."
"Nothing entertains my grandchildren more than rootling around in the garden with jam jars, collecting 'bugs'. They find the most amazing wildlife that I didn't even know was there!"
"My grandchildren just love using bug boxes with magnifying lids to look closely at small garden creatures. After looking, they carefully release them back to the place where they were found."
"Collect natural things when the children are out (leaves, little interesting stones, feathers) and then make things with them once they get home. We make pictures, cards, decorate jars...it keeps them on a mission when they are out and gives them something to do at home later."
"My granddaughter aged 10 and her brother aged seven discovered newts in my pond and spent days doing a project, which included a fact file, drawings and stories."
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