More kids are choosing the comfort of the couch than spending time playing outdoors, a recent Newspoll survey for OMO found Australian children aged five to 11 are spending more time watching TV, playing computer games or using the Internet compared to enjoying active free play.
For parents on the lookout for new ways to encourage their kids to be more active, celebrity gardener, Jason Hodges, recommends charging your kids with the responsibility of a vegetable garden.
Not only will your kids be outdoors, they will learn where their food comes from and most importantly, have a lot of fun.
Jason says his daughter has really embraced gardening and can even taste the difference between store bought tomatoes and the ones they've grown at home.
With so many people living in units, “The closest they [children] come to getting dirty is probably an hour or two of sport a week.” But Jason says it's as simple as finding an old tool box.
“My four-year-old girl has a beetroot plant that’s in an old tool box and all I did was drill some holes in the tool box, she has a wheelbarrow and a wine barrow too,” says Jason.
To get the ball rolling here's Jason's step-by-step guide to creating a wheelbarrow vegetable garden with your kids.
Jason's tips for creating a vegetable garden
- Aim for six hours of sun a day, any less than that and they tend to grow slow and your vegetables can taste bitter.
- Spend a few extra dollars and buy a good quality soil mix. Always read instructions on bag.
- Vegetables that are fast growing and easy to look after such as lettuce, spinach, carrots and tomatoes will get the kids engaged.
- Do a bit of craft and get the kids to name their plants – paddle pop sticks, painted pebbles or use little blackboard signs.
- Use the vegetables in your cooking. The kids will love the difference between a store bought tomato and one grown at home!
- Let the kids take ownership of their garden with regular watering and remember to keep it fun.
For more information and a kidsafe plant list visit the Grow Me Safely website.