Tracy Williams, successful entrepreneur, Head of Sales and Operations at Rolux and mom of twins, has some ideas on getting your kids to ditch their screens this December and dirty their hands in the garden instead.
It’s every parent’s greatest challenge in the digital age – balancing children’s screen time with real world activities. While it is undoubtedly easier to let screens ease their boredom, too much screen time stifles creativity, imagination, and playfulness – all essential to the development of growing children.
These December holidays, put away the screen and reconnect your children with the world around them, starting with the outdoor world on your doorstep – the garden. Getting them to help with gardening can relieve their stress, engage all their senses, teach patience and responsibility, promote healthy eating, hone their fine motor skills and introduces them to scientific concepts.
Here are some ideas to get your kids excited about gardening these holidays:
Pot up containers
Find some containers and let your kids plant them up. Get them to paint some old pots that may be lying around, or let your kids think out of the box – old toys, shoes, wheelbarrows or unused drawers can all be used as containers and give the garden a playful whimsical feeling.
Ensure the container you choose has drainage holes and then fill it two thirds of the way with potting soil. Let them plant and arrange their chosen flowers in the container. Fill in around the roots, firm down the soil and water well. Place in a sunny, sheltered spot and keep the soil moist.
Give them their own patch
Put aside an area of garden and give your children autonomous control over it. Here, they can plant the flowers of their choice and grow their favourite fruits and veggies. Seeds that are quick to sprout and ready to feast on in a matter of weeks include radish, lettuce and watercress. Big seeds are easier for little hands to handle – try nasturtium, peas, sunflowers and squash. Water regularly and keep weeds out – they need to care for their patch to see results.
Create a bug hotel
Get your kids excited about the many beneficial creepy crawlies in the garden by creating a special place for them. Bug hotels can be a welcome spot for many creatures, with hidey holes, tunnels and cosy beds for spiders, ladybirds, moths, butterflies and caterpillars. Just find a box, pallet or empty plastic bottle and send your little adventurers out to find some nature – they can gather twigs, pinecones, dry leaves, stones, flowers, bark, bamboo, toilet paper rolls and old plastic pots. Arrange these into your chosen framework and put it in a sheltered spot and wait for the visitors to check in.
Give them chores
Kids love to copy their parents. Next time you’re outside gardening, get your child involved. Pruning shrubs? If your child is old enough, give them a small pair of pruning shears and show them how to cut off dead branches. Identify weeds and ask for help pulling them out of garden beds and lawn. Hand them the hose – they’ll love being in charge of watering the garden. Provide a rake and get younger kids to work gathering leaves and garden debris. Older kids can be given lawn-mowing duty – give them a time challenge as an incentive.
Start a compost heap
Once they’ve raked the garden, use all the gathered leaves, grass clippings and twigs to make compost and teach the natural cycle of life. Find a spot in a corner of your garden in partial shade for a bin or a heap. Things you can put on your compost heap include fruit and veggie scraps, grass clippings, twigs, fallen leaves and eggshells. Then wait for the magic – kids will be amazed at how waste can be transformed into nutrient-rich soil.
Rolux is an established South African brand offering innovative products perfectly in tune with the fun, outdoor lifestyle enjoyed in this country. No matter your garden size, Rolux’s garden equipment offers quality, reliability and durability, allowing you to live your best life safe in the knowledge that your outdoor space is well looked after. Built for life, the new and enhanced range gives you value for money – so you can do it right, right now! Rolux is committed to building lifelong relationships with you, our customer, and looks forward to learning with you, innovating and improving our products as we go.