Let’s get planting!

Whether it’s planting seeds in a pot or vegetables in a garden, growing things is a wonderful, hands-on learning experience for young children.

Boy using watering can outdoors


It all starts with soil and dirty hands! Growing things is a wonderful learning experience for your pre-schooler.

It's a great way for your little one to find out more about the world around them – how plants grow and where fruit and vegetables come from. (Plus, children may often taste a vegetable they have helped to grow – which is a great bonus if your child is fussy about sampling new foods.)

But, where to start? And what if you don’t have a garden?

How CBeebies can help

Why not get the whole learning experience off to a great start by watching Mr Bloom's Nursery together?

The vegetable puppets on the show help young children to learn from the experience of nurturing plants and vegetables. And, in each episode real children go to the allotment to help Mr Bloom tend his produce.

Young children might also want to have a go at making a mini garden in a plastic container (e.g. an old ice-cream tub). Click through to the Eco Beebies pages on the CBeebies website and select 'Make & Colour'. In there, you’ll find details of how to make your very own mini garden.

How to make a magic moment

Once inspired to get planting, why not start off with a small activity which requires very little preparation and has that fairly immediate reward (that young children look for!). A packet of cress seeds, some damp cotton wool, and an egg carton or yogurt pot in which to place the seeds… and away you go.

The transformation of the seeds into little green seedlings is a magic moment to treasure for many young children and will help to make all the talk about growing things 'real'.

Another idea which is great for creating magic moments is to give your child a small area of a garden border, some plant pots or a window box and let them grow exactly what they want.

Your child might choose to plant some seeds or wish to buy a couple of small bedding/container plants which are easy to look after – e.g. pansies are a good starter plant for young children – they're quite cheap, colourful, pretty hardy and flower for long periods.

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Top tips

  • Try making a mini
  • garden together using a tin tray, earth, gravel, twigs, moss, pretend flowers –
  • anything you and your child decide to place in your pretend garden.Sunflowers grow fast
  • – great for impatient little gardeners! Remember to water the plants well as
  • they grow - and have a competition to see who can grow the tallest one!Have a go at growing
  • carrot tops. Cut 2cm off the top of a carrot and place it in a saucer
  • containing a small amount of water. Make sure the carrot top gets plenty of
  • daylight and doesn’t dry out. After a few days, green tufts should appear on
  • top.Plant bulbs together
  • in small pots – hyacinths smell lovely and make good indoor plants. Or you
  • could plant some daffodil and tulip bulbs.

Expert opinion

Grow a selection of salad crops to make a lovely summer salad and introduce children to practical gardening. It will increase their interest in healthy food and help them to understand plant life cycles.

Gardening with children (BBC guide),

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