Combining gardening and home-schooling during lockdown

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During the first lockdown, Britain spent £3.7 billion on gardening. We don’t expect Lockdown 3.0 to have quite the same effect, because everyone’s frazzled right now and feeling a bit glum, but gardening is great for your mental health and it’s also a great way to home school without sitting in front of a screen.

We know that during the winter months we all need a bit of a push to get outside and get inspired because the weather is rubbish so we’ve put some tips together for you to bring learning to life for your children and have some fun over the next couple of months.

Plant seeds in toilet rolls

If there’s one thing that Lockdown 1.0 provided us with, it was an excessive amount of toilet roll. If you’re still wading through them, and even if you aren’t, then using toilet rolls to plant seeds is an easy, cheap and fun way to get children gardening. It’s also ideal if the weather isn’t great because you can do it all inside.

This guide will give you all the tips you need to plant your seeds – you can start with small seeds that are easy to grow, like cress (you can even draw faces on the toilet roll cardboard to create crazy haired cress-creatures), or you can plant seeds that you intend to plant and establish in the garden once the weather is better. Either way, it’s a fun activity to teach your children about how seeds grow and what they need.

Cress Heads
Credit: Crafty Kids

Create a bug hotel

For this one, you will need to get outside. But once you’re outside, it’s a fantastic way to teach children about the benefits of bugs to your garden and how important they are to the eco-system.

The RSPB has a brilliant blog on how to build your bug hotel and what you’ll need. You can keep a list of the bugs you find and then do some research to find out whether they’re a helpful bug or a pest that will eat up all your plants! Grab a magnifying glass and your kids will have great fun getting up close and personal with the bugs while also exploring what they do.

The Bedfordshire Natural History Society has a great bug-finder sheet to see how many species you can find.

Bug Hotel
Credit: Eden Project

Create a seed growing chart

February and March is a great time to plant seeds. You don’t even have to get outside to do it – invest in a few seed trays and you can propagate them inside on window sills, near a radiator. They’re great fun to watch as they grow – you can keep a chart to see how much they grow week-on-week and compare and contrast with different temperatures and watering rates.

Thompson Morgan has a month-by-month breakdown of what seeds to plant and when and if you don’t have an outside space to transfer them to once they start growing, choose seeds that can be re-potted in larger pots and kept indoors. They’ll bring a burst of colour to your indoor space.

The Guardian has some helpful tips for propagating seeds – including optimal temperatures and tools you might need.

Lockdown is tough on all of us, but getting gardening can lighten the load during the winter months and help make learning fun and interactive. Parent Map has more great ideas on gardening experiments along with BBC Bitesize that you can try with your children – give them a go and tell us how you get on!

Planting Seeds
Credit: FB Educata;;