I am landscaping my garden for my children

I am landscaping my garden for my children

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The garden, even a small one, is a fabulous space for playing, learning, recharging one's batteries and connecting with the earth ... Make it a place of life and sharing for the whole family, by fitting it out to the size of your toddlers: it must be safe, welcoming and fun at the same time. "Are we going to play in the garden?" ... What a pleasure to see that the children like to go out of the house to enjoy this private plot of greenery! Playing a game of football? Slide? Harvest vegetables from their small vegetable patch? Put seeds in the nest boxes? Or just take a nap in the shade and have a snack in the fresh air? Let your children take over the garden. It should not be a place that paralyzes them (banish the reflections of the style "Do not play ball, you will break the flowers!"), But a space of freedom, experiences and discoveries of all kinds. The trend of small gardens is also perfect for children, so dedicate this space to them!

A garden for every age

You will no doubt see your garden "growing" and evolving at the same time as your children. And of course it will not be arranged in the same way depending on whether they take their first steps or if they are teenagers. Small, they will like to touch the grass ... Sitting in a simple patch of untreated greenery, observing nature will be a great moment of well-being, under your benevolent gaze. Then around 2 to 3 years old, you can educate them about the cultivation of a strawberry, a cherry tomato, a salad. There are many fun products based on vegetable and floral seeds, and certain brands such as La Ferme de Sainte-Marthe / Graines en Folie (www.grainesenfolie.fr) also develop special ranges for children, sold in garden centers or on their Online Store. Besides, from the first year of installation in a new house, take the time to immediately plant strawberries and red fruit shrubs. They will offer you simple pleasures each summer, and will grow with the children. Then from the age of 7, they will begin to appreciate the initiation to flowering plants, their planting, their maintenance ... Gardening together is a most enjoyable hobby.

Give the impetus

Nothing better than spending time in the garden yourself to make your children want to be like the grown-ups. You can also arouse their curiosity and interest them in gardening by reading books on this theme, and by offering to participate in workshops on Wednesday afternoons initiated in garden centers or in associations in your municipality.

Hands in the ground from an early age

As soon as they sit, leave your children a small square of land just for them, they will enjoy touching the dry or wet earth ... The kindergarten is a garden where they can experience the 5 senses. Around 3 years old, they can start to participate in potting plants, manual weeding - and thus be made aware of the importance of an organic garden. They will also like to plant birth trees for their brother or sister for example: a nice way to make the garden sentimental and emotional. And then of course, you can create a vegetable garden together: the vegetable patch is a great success with children. You can make them specially to their size, the ideal size being that of the measurement of the child's arm multiplied by two, which must be able to allow them to be autonomous and reach all parts of the vegetable patch, even in the middle … Or then plan for tubs at their height, large planter type, 20/30 cm deep. Then choose with them their favorite vegetables and fruits to grow: easy ones like radishes which will be consumable in 20 days on average, salads to cut like arugula, ready to eat, beans and potatoes too ... Only 4 months of waiting before tasting them! On the fruit side, the strawberries in suspension to be tasted immediately will be all the rage, and on the flower side, start with hearts of mary, that the little ones (and the big ones) will find so pretty! To interest them more and more, also think of fun plants such as explosive pickles or sage which smells of pineapple, fragrant pelargonium (which smells of coca, lemon, rose, etc.) among other original features. You will find them at certain seed manufacturers or on specialized sites (see La Boîte à Graines or La Ferme de Sainte Marthe). Finally, carnivorous plants, like sundew, also fascinate those over 7 years old; they also withstand our winters well even outdoors, just create a bog, always keep moist. The children will discover by observing the corpses of critters… awfully scary!

Adapted or customized tools

To be comfortable and not get hurt, tools adapted to their little hands are essential. For several years, very complete ranges of garden tools and accessories for children have been available in garden centers: rake, shovel, dibbler, boots, gloves, watering can, wheelbarrow, but also planters on feet and other pots, are available in patterns and colors that will make children want to use it. But it is also possible to start simply with a fork and a spoon - to customize with them, why not.

Discover the fauna, too

Simply observe bees, snails, birds, earthworms ... A pleasant way to become family-oriented in nature. Then, from 6 years old, you can install a pond or a pond of dimensions adapted to your garden, to observe toads, fish, dragonflies. It also helps to understand the cycle of life. Finally, making insect hotels is a very popular activity with children today, get started and make your own!

Don't neglect security

The garden, if it is an extraordinary place of discovery, can also be dangerous for the youngest: watch out for stairs, sharp tools (secateurs, mower), ponds, treatment products (never apply them by very hot weather and strong wind) even if with the trend 'sustainable development', new parents use less. Also avoid repainting the sandbox or the wood of the vegetable patch in the summer. Apply the stain rather in winter so that children avoid toxic scents. And carefully check the standards and the correct installation of gantries and other swings. We also often talk about toxic plants in the garden, some very common can be dangerous or even fatal, such as pyracantha and oleander among others. Do not ban them especially from the garden but rather educate your young people about the dangers of nature, without scaring them however. The garden must remain a space of pleasure above all.

Games and worlds

The children's garden is also a playground! The sandbox will occupy them for a long time, equipped with shovels and beach buckets, but take care to cover it outside of play time so that the cats in the neighborhood do not come to urinate inside. Remember to renew the sand every year for better hygiene - the sand is also reusable in the garden. To create a world of their own, wooden cabins ready to paint are particularly trendy: rural or contemporary, some are on stilts, with a small terrace and pergola as at Burger. Another 'nature' version, playhouses wicker or climbing plants will certainly please them: you can imagine a teepee shape - and grow beans on it to create a natural occultation. Complete the picture with a hammock, an outdoor hopscotch, a mat of water. And don't forget the simple imaginative games, to do with what you have on hand (wood, stones).

Do it yourself

There are many homemade games that parents can create for their children: a small outdoor kitchen area in wooden crates and zinc bowls to prepare mud cakes and other imaginary dishes! Creative workshops for children to customize flower pots, write the names of vegetables planted on stakes or paint pebbles. And to play the game of the magic garden, imagine a world of gnomes and fairies by building mini entry doors at the foot of your trees and let them invent stories. Finally, the outdoor spaces allow you to learn science in the garden: get started in the making, parents and children hand in hand, of a seesaw (tappet) for example… and study the concept of balance ! The garden is a great way to make informal learning about life interesting, to test, to observe, to make children carry out experiences for themselves: in the pond, see what floats, what flows, what who freezes; observe the plants that die in winter and others that resist. This is what makes them curious!

Relaxation and idleness… too!

Growing up, especially in adolescence, the garden will no longer have the same attraction for your children who will probably prefer to "go out" with friends. It's up to you to always make them want to spend time there, precisely by making it a welcoming and fun place for them to invite their friends. Arrange your garden in cocooning version, involve your children in the purchase of furniture, plancha and barbecue, in the choice of plants and decoration ... They will certainly like to organize small parties in the garden. Why not teach them how to prepare non-alcoholic cocktails to serve to their friends, from the fruits of the garden! A must read:
These two books are a wealth of ideas for activities with your children in the garden. The projects are described step by step and illustrated with photos. - The garden with the children , Katja Maren Thiel and Annette Timmermann, Ulmer editions, € 22. - Gardening with children, fantastic gardening ideas for 5-12 year olds , Jenny Hendy, Delachaux and Niestlé editions, € 24.90. Thanks : - Christian Chaize of the Nalod's / Delbard group, - Baptiste Pierre, gardener-botanist-animator, contributor for the Carnet des Tendances of the Jardiland Institute / OJD (Observatory of garden trends). Photo credit: Anness Publishing Ltd.

1-Rostaing radish child gloves, 2-My Bouillard blue vegetable patch, 3-Bales, 4-Lot of 3 Devaux children's garden tools, 5-Rostaing radish children's apron (photo credit: Botanic)