Gardening is one of the most important things you can pass down to a child, and most everyone knows that gardening is a wonderful teaching resource for kids. It’s also a great way to encourage recycling. However, going green in the garden is more than just reusing yard and garden waste or compost. It’s about helping to save our environment and in doing so, we are helping future generations.
Challenge Your Kids
From containers and garden art to wildlife habitats, accessories and more, kids should be taught and encouraged to find ways of reusing objects rather than simply throwing them away. Kids love being creative, which is important when it comes to keeping things fun. Allow kids to put their creative juices to work by having them collect old, everyday items (including toys) and challenge them to find another use for them in the garden (or even elsewhere). For instance, an old, plastic butter bowl could be given new life as a garden container. Simply poke a few holes in the bottom for drainage, add some soil and seeds, and water. Think of the possibilities if everyone could find another use for products like these rather than allowing them to collect in landfills where there are literally tons of garbage taking up space. Challenge kids to find tons of alternative uses for these items instead.
Recycling Ordinary Items
Festive-looking containers can be made from nearly anything as long as there is adequate drainage provided. From old pots and bowls to washtubs, jugs, and even shoes, these everyday items can make excellent additions to the garden. They can even be transformed into unique garden sculptures with a bit of imaginationsomething kids have plenty of. A great way to encourage wildlife into the garden is by providing suitable habitat homes, which can be easily constructed from old containers. These items can also be used to construct bird feeders and baths. Rain barrels are often used for collecting rainwater; however, many types of containers are quite suitable for this. Simply place any container beneath the gutter spout and then reuse the rainwater on garden plants. Plastic bottles and milk jugs can lend another hand in the garden. For example, jugs make excellent water reservoirs for plants. Poke a few holes along the bottom sides and help the kids dig out holes in the garden just large enough for the jug to fit into, leaving at least the top portion sticking out. Fill each jug with water, replacing the lid. Water will slowly seep out, keeping plants nourished and happy, especially in dry conditions. Be sure to have the kids check water levels often, refilling as needed.
Jars make excellent edging for borders and walkways in the garden. Kids can collect these items; clean them out, and place additional items inside (small stones, marbles, buttons, seashells, etc.) to create unique garden edgings. Coffee or soup cans may also be used and can be painted for further interest. You could also help punch out designs with a nail and use them as candle holders to illuminate garden paths. Have kids collect canning lids, bottle caps, and similar items to create one-of-a-kind wind chimes or sun catchers for the garden. All sorts of paper can be reused in the garden, much of which is composted. However, kids can also find other uses for paper. Newspaper makes a great weed barrier in the garden when placed in layers around garden plants. Kids can create handsome looking paper mache characters. When painted and protected from the weather, these can make lovely additions to the garden. Kids can also be shown how to make newspaper pots, which can be planted directly into the garden, breaking down and enriching the soil.
While it may sound crazy, toys can also be reused in the garden. In fact, this is a great way to encourage recycling as well as help rid clutter from their rooms. Most kids find it difficult to part ways with their toys, even when they no longer use them. However, they’ll most likely find themselves open to the idea of reusing them rather than throwing them out or even giving them away. Anything from cradles, wagons, and dump trucks to buckets and bouncing balls can be transformed into lively containers for garden plants. For items difficult to add drainage to, simply add suitable pots filled with soil and then add seeds or plants. For balls, cut an opening in the top and place a potted plant inside. Don’t feel limited to containers; once again, challenge kids to come up with creative ideas of their own. The possibilities are endless.
Bottle Garden Activity.
Allow kids to collect 2-liter bottles and reuse them by ‘planting’ a bottle garden. They can plant as many or as few as desired, depending on space and preference. Help them add drainage holes and cut off the tops. Let the kids add a few pebbles or gravel in the bottom, adding compost-enriched soil, leaving about an inch of space beneath the rim. Next, add seeds of their choosing and ‘plant’ the bottles in a suitable, designated area of the garden. These bottle garden plants can be moved or reused as needed.