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Try these three green-fingered projects with your little one

It doesn’t matter if you live in a top-floor flat, you can still enjoy a windowsill garden. Growing plants is a great indoor activity for toddlers and preschoolers – they’ll love getting involved with our easy craft ideas.

What can we plant?

There are lots of plants that can grow happily in pots on a sunny, indoor windowsill, rather than outside in the ground.

  1. Herbs: Try parsley, oregano, rosemary, coriander or thyme.
  2. Flowers: Go for bright, hardy geraniums or fragrant lavender.
  3. Succulents or cacti: These low-maintenance plants need lots of light and little water.
  4. Fruit and veg: Start with tomatoes – dwarf varieties work best – or strawberry plants.
  5. Cress: Great for impatient toddlers as it only takes a week to grow!

Crafty projects with little ones

 

1. Painted pots

You’ll need:

  • Terracotta pots
  • Water-based emulsion paint
  • Paintbrushes

It’s good to use individual pots when you’re growing more than one type of plant – perfect for a mix ’n’ match windowsill garden. Your little one can have fun jazzing up boring terracotta pots with colourful painted designs. Talk about ideas with them first ­– they could do spots, stripes, flowers or a funny face – then let them get creative. If they’re using different colours, remember to let the paint dry between each colour.

 

2. Cress heads 

You’ll need:

  • Cress seeds
  • Cotton wool
  • Small containers
  • Water
  • Googly eyes and felt-tips for decoration 

Growing cress is quick and easy, which makes it perfect for gardening beginners. To start, you’ll need a small container like an empty yoghurt pot or eggshell. Get your little one to decorate these with a face using felt-tips or stick-on googly eyes. When their masterpiece is complete, fill the small container with cotton wool, pour in water until damp (not soaking), then sprinkle the cress seeds over the top. Leave on a warm, sunny windowsill and check back with your little one to watch the cress hair sprout and grow!

 

3. Recycled herb garden

You’ll need:

  • Seeds or small plants
  • Potting soil
  • Empty plastic bottles
  • Labels (optional)
  • Newspaper

Before you start, put down some newspaper to save on cleaning up time. Save money – and recycle too – by making your pots from the bottoms of empty plastic bottles. Small bottles work well for seedlings, while larger 2 litre bottles are a good size for potted plants. Cut across your clean empty plastic bottle horizontally, making sure it’s at least four inches deep. You’ll also need to make drainage holes in the base and put them on a dish to catch excess water.

Next, fill your container with potting soil. Then simply follow the instructions on the seed packet. Toddlers can help poke holes for the seeds using their fingers – they’re the perfect size! Don’t forget to make some labels so you can remember what’s growing where. You can DIY these using felt-tips and wooden lollypop sticks.

If you’re using established potted herbs from the supermarket instead of seeds, take them out of the small plastic pots they come in. Repot them into new containers using extra potting soil for an instant herb garden.

Looking after your plants

Pots are best on bright, south-facing windowsills, or somewhere where they can get at least six hours of sunshine a day.

It can be a nice activity to regularly water the plants with your toddler, and make them feel part of helping the plants grow. Remember, the soil needs to be moist not soggy, so make sure you have drainage saucers as keen little gardeners tend to overwater.

Happy planting! If you’re looking for more green-fingered inspiration read more about gardening with toddlers

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