Toddlers love planting and watering seeds, and watching them grow. Have a go at planting a window box, or making a bird feeder, plus, have fun with our gardening ideas.
Wonderful window boxes
Planting a window box with bright flowers gives your toddler immediate results. Here's how:
- Choose plants with a long flowering season - for a window box in a sunny position, plant lavender, pansies and violas with rosemary at either end. For a shadier spot, try buxus, fuchsias and verbena.
- For good drainage, buy a window box with holes in the bottom (or drill some) and line with 3-5cm pieces of old pot or polystyrene packaging.
- Get your tot to help fill the box with potting compost, leaving an inch gap at the top.
- Give your toddler a watering can and ask her to soak the roots of your plants an hour before planting. She can help you dig too. Once in the container, ask her to water them until you see drips coming through the bottom.
- Water daily, or every few days, depending on how much sun the box gets. Never let the compost dry out.
There are lots of tasty salad leaves and herbs you can grow on your windowsill or in the garden - no expertise required:
- Choose your variety - the most popular salad leaves to grow are cos or romaine lettuces such as Little Gem or Paris White (crisp, sweet leaves) and rocket (both herb and wild varieties); while herbs like mint, parsley, miniature basil and sage also make good choices. Take your tot along to help you select some - show her how to gently press the leaves of the herbs and take a sniff.
- For the salads, ask your toddler to scatter the seeds onto some compost in a container, sprinkle with a little more compost, water lightly, and wait for germination.
- To grow herbs, buy herb seedlings and pot them in 10cm-wide containers (or spaced 10cm apart in your beds - your toddler will love digging you a little hole), and give them plenty of light. Only water when the top of the soil feels dry. Pick and use your herbs regularly to keep them bushy and compact.
Feed the birds
Tempt some wild birds to your garden or terrace with a homemade bird feeder:
- If your toddler is dextrous enough (probably nearer to age three) set her the challenge of carefully threading fruit and nuts onto some string or garden twine using a blunt needle with a large eye (and plenty of supervision!) then tie the pieces together to create a chain - great knotting practice for your little one! Use sultanas, apricots, raisins, apple rings (dried or fresh), and so on.
- Hang individual chains onto a piece of raffia (or string) raised above ground level, out of the cat's reach, and wait for the birds to come flocking.