24 July 2019

Garden activities for grandchildren

Grandparents gardening with grandchildren

The school holidays create the perfect opportunity to spend some quality time with the grandkids, especially when the sun is shining. However, for older people, especially those who rely on home stairlifts, days out with the grandkids can be difficult. In our guide, we reveal the best garden activities to do with your grandchildren that’ll keep them entertained without straining or tiring yourself out.

Teach them how to garden

Child carrying a plant

If you love gardening yourself, then why not pass down some of your plant wisdom onto the next generation? Start with simple tips such as how to plant seeds and how much you should water plants. Depending on what’s in season, choose plants that will grow quickly, so the kids can quickly see the results of their hard work.

Sarah from the team at Kids Gardening, a company with a mission to create opportunities for kids to play, learn and grow through gardening, tells us her advice: “My first tip would be to start small and then grow over time. Container gardens are a good entry point into the gardening because they are so versatile. For young gardeners, you can add whimsical features to your container garden like fairy houses or, plant themed gardens like a pizza garden with a cherry tomato, basil and oregano.”

Teaching the little ones more about nature is a popular piece of advice, as Christina, who is a family childcare provider and the founder of Little Sprouts Learning, a blog featuring tips for families and activities for kids, tells us: “My children love doing so many things in the garden. They love to plant seeds and harvest vegetables especially. Something fun we enjoy is getting science in the garden. At the end of the season, we will cut down the tallest plant, maybe a sunflower plant, and measure how tall it is with a tape measure. Then we'll see how many kids tall it is by letting the kids lay down next to it and make a row of kids. It's super fun. Kids love it because it shows how they relate to what they plant and how amazingly huge plants can get.”

Quick gardening tips for children:

  • Invest in some mini tools that the children will be able to use themselves
  • Anticipate the mess and change the little ones into old ‘gardening’ clothes
  • Choose to plant quick-sprouting seeds so they can see the results in the days to come; sunflowers, cress, green beans are perfect.

Host a treasure hunt

Children running through a field

Help unleash your grandchildren’s sense of adventure by hosting a treasure hunt. No matter how big or small your garden is, the kids are bound to find something to explore, however, this is the perfect activity for those who have a large outdoor space.

Helen from the team at Wonder Adventures, a children’s events and entertainment business run by a husband and wife team, says: “One of our favourite garden activities is a treasure hunt. There are loads of ways you can do a treasure hunt. A simple list of natural objects to find (a stick, a leaf, a flower etc) can be presented with a picture or words depending on the age of your children.

“Alternatively, you could do a treasure hunt with directional clues – a great one is placing the kid’s teddies, or their toys, in spots for them to find and making the clues about them! You can also do it by finding different colour items or objects beginning with certain letters. Or, one of the simplest ways to create a treasure hunt for toddlers is to print and laminate a load of images of something that they love, such as dinosaurs or wizards. Hide them around the garden and tell them how many there are to find!

“You can tailor them for your kid’s interests, ages and abilities, make them as short or long, easy or complicated! You can reward them with a treat at the end and everyone can get involved, so it’s great for sibling groups and mixed ages. Grandparents can be involved in a treasure hunt, either helping to organise or set it up or simply participating. And the best thing is a treasure hunt activity is active, imaginative, they learn something and there is a sense of achievement!”

Find creepy crawlies

Boy watering plants

Although it may make your skin crawl, little ones are often fascinated with the small bugs found amongst the flowers. Help your grandkids spot some creepy crawlies in the garden and you can even teach them more about insects.

Teresa from Nana Hood, a blog featuring advice for grandparents, tells us her ideas for the best garden activities for grandchildren: “Have children take a plastic jar and do a big search. Use plastic instead of glass because it’s unbreakable and little children drop things. Poke holes in the top of the jar. For safety’s sake, the adult should poke the holes. Use a little net to capture bugs. When you have several go back inside and look up what kind of bugs you have captured. Then release them back in the garden. Not only is this a fun activity, but it is also a great science lesson!”

Create arts and crafts

When the sun is shining, lay out a blanket on the grass and move the arts and crafts box outdoors. You can simply lay some coloured card and paint on top of the blanket to let the grandchildren create some messy masterpieces or help them create something more difficult such as dreamcatchers to hang on the trees.

Christina from Little Sprouts Learning continues: “Any activity would be great for grandparents to get involved in with kids. Painting rocks to decorate the garden with is especially fun because grandkids and grandparents can each keep some for their gardens to always remember their times together in the garden when they see them. I also recommend that you collect natural things when the children are away (leaves, little interesting stones, feathers) and then make things with them once they visit.”

Garden arts and crafts ideas for children:

  • Ladybird or animal painted rocks
  • Dreamcatchers to hang on the trees
  • Painting flowers and things found in the garden
  • Decorating plant pots
  • Create a garden windmill by painting a plastic plate and glueing it onto a stick

Get out the paddling pool

Feet splashing in a paddling pool

Especially when the weather is hot, paddling pools are not only great fun for the grandchildren but also a great way to keep them cool. Add toys and pouring jugs into the pool to keep them entertained, and even a mini bodyboard if it’s big enough. If you don’t have a paddling pool, you can find one at a good price at most supermarkets. Garden sprinklers are also great fun for children, and you’ll water your plants in the process!

There’s no need to worry about taking your grandchildren on grand days out when there are plenty of garden activities for them to enjoy. Remember, on a hot day it’s best to avoid being directly in the sun between 10 am and 2 am and make sure yourself and your grandchildren are prepared with sun protection.

Garden activities for grandchildren:

  • Teach them how to garden
  • Host a themed treasure hunt
  • Find creepy crawlies
  • Create arts and crafts
  • Get out the paddling pool