Picture this scene: it is late spring (I know, not very seasonal) and the day has finally arrived for planting out my lovely little veggie plants. I had previously spent a rather frustrating afternoon trying to get my then three and half year old to plant the seeds without pouring the whole packet into one single pot. Following that, I had done my best to nurture and water them and to keep my one year old from pulling them out of their pots. My little plants had survived and thrived and are now ready to face the big bad world of slugs and pigeons. My older girl is eager to ‘do it herself’ and after a short discussion I allow her to make the hole in the ground, grab the little plant and push it into the soil. As her little ‘not so delicate’ green fingers try to compact the soil (an action that she had observed me doing many times before) I hear a snap…. “oops, sorry mummy!”. KABOOM! Three months of love and care have just gone in one second!
I bet I am not alone and that many other people have experienced this situation. And yes, absolutely, I have myself accidentally damaged and killed small and large plants a number of times! But, somehow I found this situation different as I really felt for my little girl (as well as the little plant!). Why did I expect her to be able to firstly have an interest in growing plants and secondly to have the dexterity to do what I, as an adult, struggle with? Gardening is fun for all of us, but it takes time and patience, both of which are concepts that most young children struggle with. Also, as adults, we often do not have the time or the patience to do what it takes to seed the passion for gardening in our little ones.
What if us adults did not give up teaching our children the joys of gardening even when three months of hard work are wiped out by little ‘not so delicate’ green fingers?
What if gardening was considered a life skill like cooking?
What if children were introduced to it through pretend play the same way they are with other skills?
I set up mini green fingers because I want to explore the outcome of all the above questions and give adults additional tools to nourish and grow the seed of gardening in their ‘mini green fingers’.
I am frustrated by the lack of gardening ‘pretend-play’ and toy options available on the high street for the younger children and the poor quality tools for the older children that become impulse buys at the supermarket rather than a conscious choice made to support a child’s growing gardening skills. I have selected products that address these two issues and I will continue to scour the market for fun and innovative products.
I will be using this blog to share stories and news on the topic of gardening with children. I will also at times tell you about new products that I’d like to add to the shop and include some ‘road testing’ with my children. I will regularly look for input from other people so they can share their experiences.
Please comment below to let me know your thoughts and do get in touch if you have an interesting story or if you have any additional topics that you think would be helpful to cover.